Sunday, December 20, 2009
With all the giving we have been doing this last week it has really made me reevaluate my view of Christmas and giving. Some of the families were so grateful for what we gave, and others greedy for more and not thankful for what they received. I love getting people things for Christmas and know that they will appreciate whatever I get them, but I now know why so many people stress the reason for the season. I can see how so many people can overlook what its all about, not present, but Christ's birth! We are so lucky to have him come and live as a perfect example for us and die to take our sins. But we seem to put getting present as more important, when really we need to be celebrating that amazing gift we were given from our Heavenly Father.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6
I don't know about you, but I am so lucky to have a God that would send his son, I don't thing even the biggest and best present can top that!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
It all started when I was waiting for church to start, I had gotten to the church and was mad that people were there early because they forgot to set their clocks back and that I was going to have to sing alone songs that I barely knew (even though I had picked them out). Then, a friend of mine sent me a text that said "Happy Sunday" and I replied back complaining about how bad my Sunday had started out and as I sent that text, God reminded me how much I had been complaining lately. So I grabbed some coffee and went out to the front steps and started to pray and God was really laying on my heart that I needed to start choosing joy and stop complaining, life is not going to change from me complaining all the time. When church starts I go up to sing and I feel like I blew it, but I didn't care, I sang for God while I was up there and that is all that matters. Then Captain starts his message and talks about the man with leprosy and how even though we don't have the physical leprosy, we all have a form of it ourselves- boom, again, mine being complaining. The message was just what I needed to hear. After the service I went up to Captain and first of all thanked him for the great message and told him I was sorry for my attitude at work. My co-workers did not need to here the complaining I was doing.
Then today, the day started out great, but when I got home from work I just got really frustrated and had to leave my house, I went over to a friends house and hung out for a bit, then I left and went for a ride and got to talk to my friend about a topic that is on both our hearts lately (love, relationships, and being lonely) and from that got me thinking about it with the chain of events after work and me thinking about this topic we were just talking about brought my spirits down. It was then time to head off to bible study, I ended up getting there a little early, so I was flipping through my bible and came across these verses
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."- James 1:2-8
Man that verse hit me, again reminding me when I get down about something or when I am going through trials that I need to choose joy (another reminder) and that I need to preserver through it. I am so blessed to have a God who loves me so much that the devil is trying his hardest get in, but God always brings it back.
I just have to give all my anxieties to God and trust that He is taking care of it in HIS TIME, not ours and through that we can choose joy!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I feel like so often I take things that God has blessed us with for granted because we expect them instead of thanking Him for it. Like: the seasons, the stars, the diversity of His people, the talents he has given each of us, and much more.
God created all of these things for us and I know, personally, I need to be reminded every once and a while and put myself in check to not try and take each blessing and beautiful creation God has given us for granted, but to thank Him daily for blessing us with it!
When I think of His beauty, I was reminded of a song that we sang during our nursing home visit, How Great Thou Art. While I was singing it and after singing it the first two verses were so powerful and so fitting for the season:
O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
It is such a great song and it was such a great reminder to thank God for all he has given us!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
My roommates are so great and so friendly, I love watching movies and just the discussions we have are great. Amanda, my bosses wife has been there for me to vent and we are a lot alike, so it helps having her around. The teens and kids I work with are great, they keep me going on Tuesdays and Thursday. A newer person that has been a blessing is Amy, she is the new office assistant here at work and she is so amazing, she feels the same frustrations I do and we get each other with that. Today as she was leaving she offered to get me dinner because she knew I would be here until bible study was done, it was so great to know she cares that much. The new GW interns are great too, we have hung out quite a bit the last week and they have been keeping me sane, I love hanging out with people, especially my age and that have the same interests as me, I am so blessed to have them around. My friend Ryan has been a good friend too, him and his wife are great people to hang out with and really challenge me in my faith.
I know Satan has really been attacking me this past month, but I am not allowing him to do that any more. I am way to blessed to let him drag me down. God is really showing me this week, now that I have had time to slow down and really take it all in, that I am truly blessed to be able to come back here and that I can't let Satan get to me like he has been. God is so good and I thank Him for getting me through this tough time and showing me all the new "family" he has blessed me with here in Monessen.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I know that I am here serving God and that I am suppose to be here, but I felt so different here last year and hope that this is really what I am suppose to be doing by myself. I know that here I get to serve and help a lot of people and hopefully act like Jesus and humbly serve people here, but because I am doing it alone (which is my fault for having no accountability) Satan is attacking big time and I don't know what to do about it.
I just ask that if you are reading this that you pray for me to stay strong and know that God will get me through this. I really need some help right now....
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I moved back to Monessen last Monday and have been on the go ever since. It is so nice to coming back to a place that I am familiar with and have connections with already. It is kind of a nice transition though, I live with four other girls who are all going to the college here. I still feel like I am living in that college lifestyle while I am home, but a working woman lifestyle while I am running around for work.
I had the day off yesterday and got to have lunch with a good friend of mine from around here and we were just talking about life and what a Christian looks like now, compared to a few years ago and how that is changing. I agree that there is a change going on. Personally I live by verse in Micah.
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
- Micah 6:8
God simply asks us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. I feel that this is exactly what Jesus did and if we are to strive to be like Jesus we should follow this verse.
I have also been learning a lot about Grace and how we recieve it and give it. It is hard to recieve it sometimes, but when we can finally do that, it is so much easier to give it to people.
You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with
grace, since God has blessed you forever.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
God has blessed me so much with traveling to different sites and being able to help them out. He has also given me some great friends that I will never forget, each site unique and great! I feel like I was given the best job of the summer, I got to travel, be an extra help and bless people with that, and still serve youth in the same context at each place. I couldn't have asked for a better position.
God challenged me with things that could have come up, but knew that I could do if I trusted in Him. This will be a summer I will never forget, from Philadelphia and the amazing city it is, to Birmingham and all of the history there, to finally New Orleans where I got to see some great southern hospitality and still help out with Hurricane Katrina and see how the people who live here truly love where they live.
I wouldn't trade this summer for anything else!
Friday, July 24, 2009
I try not to plan a lot in the future, but I also have to be realistic and I frankly, I am nervous when I get home. I get home the 11th of August and leave home the 16th of August. In that time I have to pack my life up and get pack it into my car to move to Monessen to start my job on the 18th. I also am in a wedding on the 15th, lets just say its going to be a crazy couple of days. Hopefully when I get to Monessen and all moved in things will start to settle down (but I doubt it :P)
I found out last week that I will be in the Southeast the rest of the summer, so I booked my flight home. Its crazy to think that New Orleans could be my last stop before home. I love the staff here, they are all great. I also miss the staff from Philly and Birmingham. I know that they're doing great though, they were some solid staff!
I cannot wait to go to the Southeast exit RAMP and see some new faces and see some friends that I haven't seen in a while that are in this region. God is funny the way he brings friends together and I am excited to see who I am going to know there!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wow, who would have thought I would have ended up in NOLA. God is so great and truly knows the ultimate plan. I love that all I can do this summer is trust that and know that I am going where God wants me to go.
One great thing about being here is that I might be able to see some old friends from school that have moved down here! She has recently gotten married and I was really sad to have missed her wedding, but now that I am down here I can see her. I hope I get to see some of my other friends as well that have moved down here.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
A funny thing happened this week. I was in the kitchen on Sunday making dinner for the groups coming and one of the things that happens when the kids arrive is that they get a tour of the building and go through the kitchen and the first group comes through and I am busy working on dinner and here, "Oh my goodness, its Brenna." I was a little confused as to why they were so excited to see me, they didn't know me (or so I thought). I look up and it's a group that was at my site last summer in Osage! It was so great to see them again. God works in mysterious ways. He totally knew I was a little nervous to start at a whole new site, not knowing the building very well yet, or even the town and that I could use a something that is familiar and he did. It was such a blessing to be able to reconnect with these kids.
All in all the first week here was great and I am excited for what God has for me here, as long as I am here. God is good :)
Saturday, July 4, 2009
God knew that I was getting complacent there, He knew that it was "easy" for me to stay in Philly. Plus, the Philly team is rockin' and can do great with the four of them, I am excited to hear about the rest of their summer! I am sad to leave, but excited to see all of what God has in store for me here. I am fully trusting in God this summer that He will lead me where I am suppose to go and where I can best help/fit.
If you would like to be praying for the staff here and for staying healthy and for the girl who is sick that she gets better. Also just pray that we can all get along well and that I will be a help, not a hindrance to this team.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
It felt like it was just Sunday and being in the staff meeting worried and then in a blink of an eye it was Friday and we were saying goodbye to some great friends we had just made. I really think that what I learned from Greaterworks really applies to each week that I have here with Youthworks and that is if at the end of the week we haven't given our all and it doesn't hurt that they are leaving, we haven't given enough. That is exactly what Jesus did when he went into cities. I am sure it wasn't easy for him to go from place to place and not get attached to some of the people, but he didn't hold back he still gave his all.
I hope that every Thursday night and Friday morning I hurt because the group is leaving, I want to give my all, wherever I am and whatever I am doing!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
I was talking to my friend that I was on staff with last summer in Oklahoma and he said that he was excited for me to get a permanent placement and get to know my staff and community, but I would be excited to stay as utility and move around, but the only down side is that I wouldn't get close with one group of people really well to share my summer with...so its a catch 22. Whatever happens I know that God has it all planned ou for me, so I am trusting he has me everywhere and anywhere I am going to go!
I'm exciting I get to be the extra help to the staff (if I don't get placed in a position). I know how stressful it can be to have to prep a site a do your own personal stuff for your position and I can help relieve some of that stress or even during the summer with the basic day to day things that can get overwhelming. I hope that I can do that for the staff I am a utility for.
Well, off to help Philly with their site! I'll post back soon, especially if I am somewhere else!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
We were asked to write a final blog as a reflection of these past 8 months...heres my best shot at trying to put it in words:
- Being the hands and feet of Jesus
- True servanthood
- Serving with all my heart
- Realizing I cannot do it all on my own/true dependance on God
- Unforgettable Relationships
- Falling even more in love with God everyday
- Life Changing
I wish I could explain it better, but words just cannot express what I have learned and how I have grown this year. If you really would like to hear about my time here in Monessen I would love to sit and talk with you!! Thanks for all the support and for following me through this amazing time of my life!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
I was given an awesome opportunity this weekend. I got to go caving with the Salvation Army youth this past Saturday. It was so much fun! The place is called Larurel Caverns just past Uniontown (about 45 minutes south of Monessen). It's about a 3-hour tour, and hour and a half going down and the same going up. Not only was it a lot of fun, but it was also a great bonding experience. In some places you need to help someone out or get help from others to keep going and sometimes you need to encourage someone who might be getting a little nervous about a certain spot or about the bats. It was great getting to know the kids better, especially since I might be working with them in the future.
I applied for a job at the local Salvation Army here about a month ago and hope to find out soon if I got the job. The divisional headquarters are the ones that do the hiring for my position and the person in charge of hiring has had a relative who is in the hospital, so even though I would love to know if I got the job, I pray for the person's relative and the whole family.
God is starting to prepare me to leave, even if I don't know about my job yet. I would love to come back in August no matter what, but I will just trust God that He will put me where I am suppose to go. I was getting really stressed and sad that we are leaving in 3 weeks, but now God is working in me to remind me it's not suppose to be easy. If you read about Jesus's journey, I'm sure it wasn't easy for him to go and work with people and then leave on the rest of his journeys. Christians (me especially) have a lot to learn from that.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
The Spring Break groups were great; I talked about the first week and the second one was amazing too. The group was from Central Michigan University, where I went to school. It was so god to know some of the people and reconnect. It was also great to be able to talk to them about things on campus.
Then last week was great as well. Helping Adam gave me much more respect for Youthworks vehicles and for that matter all vehicles in general. Adam is also a great teacher when it comes to cars and life. We got a chance to talk about a lot of topics from cars to belief to life lessons and stories. He also taught us so much about cars, we changed oil; replace shocks, breaks, and even a truck bed! It was great being able to help him out for the week, but also such an informational week.
Even though these three weeks were great, I really felt pulled from reality and I am really excited to get back into the swing of things starting Monday. Its crazy that I only have a month and a week here. I hope to make the best of the rest of the time I have here!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
It was great to be able to show people what we get to do on a normal basis. The group that just left were such hard workers it was awesome to see 9 people with a huge heart for service. It was great having them here and getting to meet some great people, but
I am really excited for this week since they are coming from my school!
The only downside to having the groups here is that we can’t go to most of our ministry sites. It is hard not being able to see the kids at the STAR program for 2 weeks or see the ladies at the ACORN that come on Wednesdays. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to have the groups here to show them some place I have fallen in love with, I just wish I could be able to do both.
It was also tough this past week because we found out where we are going for our Youthworks summer and that none of us our staying here. It really took the focus off of the group and they didn’t deserve that. But, it was really hard having to tell the people around here that we won’t be here and see their reaction. It totally ruined my Thursday. I am just trusting that God knows what He is doing and that He knows where He is sending us.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
- Luke 9:23
Sunday, February 22, 2009
It's so interesting the way God works in your life and put twist and turn in there and you just have to trust in Him to continue leading you through life. I just pray that I will listen to Him, hold on tight and go where he send me.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I find myself being so negative sometimes when I think things are not going well. To often I ask why God or get so frustrated when I am so fortunate and blessed and that no matter what I should praise God!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I also got the opportunity to spend some more time with the Jungs, the Captains at the Salvation Army, this week and get to know them on a more personal level. It has been great hanging out with them. They have really welcomed me in and made me feel so welcome. Just last night I got to spend the night with some of the youth that go to church at the Salvation Army and it was such a blast being able to hang out and get to know them more and really poor into them and see what God is doing in their lives.
Also looking back at the relationships I have made, I know it is going to be so hard to leave here and not miss the people I have made such strong connections with. (But I also had that struggle this summer.) When I think about it though, I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Jesus to go into a place get to know someone and help them and then move on. I think if it didn’t affect us we would have a problem, but that is part of working in ministry, you go where God leads you, even if it’s hard.
One cool thing that we got to do today was go up to Pittsburgh and meet up with Ben and Eric from Youthworks and attend the last session of the Jubilee conference that they were working at with them. We are so lucky here in Monessen to have Pittsburgh so close and have some pretty cool opportunities. It was really cool to get to know Ben and Eric a little more and to be able to hang out with them. We went to Primanti Brothers for lunch and had some “real” Pittsburgh food.
He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
- Luke 10:2
I also get to thinking about the summer and talking to my friends about weddings and knowing that I will miss every one of them except for the one I have in May, which I know is worth it for the awesome experiences I get, but just thinking about the not being able to see my friends get married makes me sad.
I hope that this passes soon….
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
From reading this book it gets me so fired up when I hear them talk about churches that they went to and that the people stared and didn't welcome them or were even rude to them. In one of the cities there was a sign on a church that said no loitering, church business only. How do you loiter at a church, we should be welcoming in people that are around, not trying to keep them out. Then in another city they went to a church and before the service one of them went back and asked the pastor if they could get some food after the service and the pastor said "that's not what we do here, we worship, we can't confuse our priorities." How can a church who loves God and follows Jesus's example not help out the needy.
The sad thing is out of all of the towns there was only one church that offered to help them, gave them food money, and new sandles and this was a church for the homeless people.
I hate when I read things like this and would really love to do something about it. I just pray that if someone were to walk into the church that I attend, no matter what they looked like I would be welcoming and willing to help in anyway I could. I know from experiences of moving a lot in the past year and not really having a home church that it doesn't make you feel very welcomed at a church when no one will talk to you. I really hope that the I can keep myself in check and really reach out to the people who need it.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Now to the people who have really taught me the most and I am very blessed to have met and get to share life with, my team. They have taught me more than they will ever know and I am so glad that God has put us together as a team! I know that when I leave here I will have three very good friends that I can call whenever and it is a blessing to know that!
Im guessing most of you don’t know a lot of these amazing people, so here are a few pictures that I have of them. Sadly I don’t have a picture of all of them.
Jono with Hilda
Ladies at Acorn
Group of kids from Fishgate
Saturday, January 31, 2009
I know that I have also talked about being Utility staff, but I got a chance to talk to Belinda and now feel even better about it, I am actually starting to get excited about this summer. I am so happy that I called her and that I understand the reasoning behind it. I know I should have trusted God as to what position he put me in, but I wasn't thinking about that, I wanted to figure it out MYSELF and I have realized that it NEVER work.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I know that I would love to try and be more socially responsible with the money that I do have and I hope that some day I can really strive and not buy things from the D and F list.
If you are reading this and have never heard of the Better Wold Shopping Guide I suggest you go to the website and check it out, it will change your life! www.betterworldshopper.org
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
1) I truly love kids and hanging out with them, they can really tire me out, but its worth it! They have the best imagination, why can't we as adults have that kind of imagination, when do we lose it?? I know I personally will find myself bored, not knowing what to do, but if I were to actually use my imagination more often, I would never be bored!
2) I am realizing what it really means to have child like faith, like in Mark 10:15- I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." I hear these kids sing the christian songs that are playing and know that they really mean it. So often we can sing a song and not mean it.
It is crazy what 3 straight days with just kid interaction can teach you, kids are so great!
Monday, January 19, 2009
In the last chapter it is talking about Jesus and knowing Jesus, he talks about what it would be like to be with Jesus when he was with his disciples and how we would listen to him and see the lines on his face. I want to be sitting around a fire with Jesus listening to his stories and his wisdom and looking at his face so closely that I can see the lines.
After that, he jumps into talking about how Jazz was invented out of slavery and that they slaves could not put into words what they were feeling so they made this music. He then goes on to ask: "What song will you sing when your soul gets freed?" Which is a good question, but for me especially it struck me even more, because I feel that right now I have a wall up, not allowing God into my inner soul and during a prayer he relieved to me that He is working to break down that wall and when I read this question it made me so excited to finally have that day when I truly allow God in and see what song I will sing :)
This week was really good, I didn't have a normal week, it was actually a slow week, but still good. Monday was Hot Spot and then we got to help Jennifer haul in some racks that she got from Steve and Barry's since they closed for the Black Pants Project, we also helped her empty out her office, which was sad because it was becoming more real that there isn't much going on at the Schooner Center. At the same time Marsha was moving all of her stuff out, so CTC isn't in there either. Tuesday I was at the Salvation Army and that was fun, it was good to see everyone there again and catch up with Captain Amanda. Wednesday I went to Acorn and had fun catching up with everyone, especially Ginny. Thursday there was a pretty bad snow storm so schools were delayed and so the Salvation Army wasn't going to open until noon and since I had a meeting at 1 with Pastor John about Spring Break stuff I didn't end up going and got to sleep in, which was nice.
The came Friday and because of the cold weather they had canceled school the night before, so we knew we could sleep in and go to Starbucks later since we didn't have to drop Bryan off at the school. When I woke up I had a message from Jono to call Captain Mike and Amanda. So I called and they wondered if I wanted to go to their house for a women's group and surprise birthday party for one of the ladies that goes to their church and then go to see HSM3 with their family after. So instead of going to Starbucks, I got dropped off at the Jungs' house.
When I got there Amanda was just starting to cook so I got to help her cook- chocolate waffles with homemade chocolate sauce, strawberries, raspberries, and whipped cream, strawberry parfait, and raspberry soda with strawberries on the edge of the glass. We set the table like a really fancy restaurant. It was perfect timing, we just finished up everything and everyone showed up. We set out the food and everyone ate and enjoyed each others company. Janice was so surprised, she was also so touched we would do that for her. It was such a good time, there were 8 adults and 5 kids and it was a lot of fun.
After we all just hung out and fellowshiped, danced, and just had a lot of laughs. We also got into some good conversations. Then we all decided what movie we wanted to go to and made sure everyone had someone to go with and headed off to McDonald's before going to the movies.
After getting home from my day out, I realized how blessed I am to know these people and how today I felt that I was in true community with them and getting to know them on a deeper level. For one of the first times here I really felt that I belonged in the community.