Wednesday, August 29, 2012

aside from beaming with pride as i watched my students wholeheartedly serve the people in honduras, only three things kept consuming my mind during the duration of the trip: the definition of poverty, my purpose in being there, and how weary i'm feeling in life. below are three journal clippings to explain these three things further.


"being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, i think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat" [mother teresa]

poverty, to me, has nothing to do with money, or lack of possessions, how most would define it. throughout all of my traveling and working with 'the homeless', i have come to learn that the 'poorest' people [by this definition] are among the richest i know. owning possessions doesn't make one rich, love does, and love 'they' have, and love 'they' give.


i'm going through some weird emotions and can't remember if i felt this way during other trips or not. none-the-less, i must walk through them as if this is the first time i'm experiencing them.

one youth leader asked us the most difficult question today; the dreaded "why are you here?" question, which is fair. i'm not sure i have a good or acceptable answer, really. i often fight 'poverty tourism' myself. am i hear to 'look at the poor' and pretend i have a solution? no. am i here with the mindset that we canadians can come in and make a difference in a measly week? not at all. i find myself questioning why i'm here, though. for my students, yes, but it is fair to 'use' honduras to teach them? or is 'getting away' a necessary part of the learning process sometimes? [still wrestling through this]

feeling weary

i'm tired, God. tired of initiating friendships all the time. tired of encouraging people endlessly. just ... tired. but i love you. so i will keep lifting others up.


there you have it. i have so much more on my heart today but perhaps i will keep writing and post that stuff at a later date. thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

i just got off my 56th flight in 11 years and never have i had a more difficult time in another country than i did in honduras. the plane ride there was smooth, and fun, but a day into the trip i became extremely ill [and in no ways do i say that to be dramatic]. i had a high fever, heat stroke, what we'll call traveler's bowel, haha, zero energy and longed for home. i stayed back at the hotel during one of the first mornings to rest, which proved to be beneficial. things seemed to look up that afternoon, only to become sick again hours later. this, although my fever wasn't nearly as bad as it was on day one, seemed to continue all the way through the week until the day before we departed. but i made the most of it; talking to people through the bathroom window, making my team laugh when i could, all the while praying that i could 'hold it all in' during my daily trek up the mountain to run our camp. thankfully, i only had one minor 'accident' while i was there, and aside from a minor cough, a mild fever, and looking like 'ass' as my sister put it, i am home and on the mend.

this trip was different than the others i've been on as i tried to look at it through the eyes of my students. sure, i loved the kids and the people we met, but i spent most of the little energy that i did have on my students. watching them jump right in and pour their hearts into the people in honduras filled my heart with joy. i honestly couldn't be more proud of them.

while we were there, we ran two different camps: justin and nikki's team went to camp hope, and my team went to camp agape. here, we helped run their summer camps, assisting them with anything from crafts to games. the language barrier was definitely... a barrier lol, but it didn't take us long to realize that simple things like hugs, handshakes, funny faces, and smiles can break down any language barrier. love, as we experienced, is a universal language.

the students had the chance to go to the only orphanage in copan ruinas on wednesday morning. from what i hear, it was more heartbreaking than 'the average' orphanage as they lack the help and resources to give these children the care that they need. the children there would literally be sitting in their own urine and feces for hours, if not days. [i'm not kidding], had ring worm, among other things, and were starving for affection. the saddest part? any money that people have donated to that specific orphanage hasn't gone towards the children. the owner, who isn't used to having money, tends to use any money donated for personal use. it's the saddest thing. part of me thinks God protected my heart from going and seeing it that day. i can't even imagine how i would have reacted to any of the above, let alone have been able to keep my english speaking mouth shut if i ran into the owner ;)

through the good moments and heartbreaking ones alike, God was with us throughout the whole trip. we faced a considerable amount of health issues during the week, and a couple of financial roadblocks the last night/morning we were there [about $900 worth], but we pulled through both, AND managed to get out of honduras/el salvador just HOURS before an earthquake - 7.3 on the rictor scale to be exact - followed by a 5.4 aftershock, which was then followed by a tsunami warning. [did i mention how glad i am to be home?] i've had enough excitement for one week =)

for those of you who prayed, sent quick facebook messages or supported the team financially, thank you so much for partnering with me/us on this trip! i can't tell you how grateful i am for your support.

stay tuned for some of my journal clippings and other stuff tomorrow.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

it's hard to believe that i am a half a sleep away from seeing yet another one of my dreams come true. [a dream that has been ten years in the making].

people keep asking me what it is that my team and i are doing over in honduras this week. my response? we're doing whatever we can to assist the organization down there by serving in whichever capacity they need us to [rocking babies, running a camp etc]. i refuse to board the plane tomorrow morning with the mindset that i'm going to 'change honduras' or 'bring them the help 'that they need' from canada, like some assume i'm going to do.

truth be told, when we go on short term 'mission' trips with that mentality, we fail; when we go with a servant's heart, and with a mindset that we are no better than the people we will serve, we succeed. trips like this should involve partnership.

though i plan on giving my all in all that i do there, with as much heart as possible, my mission lies within the five students that will be coming with us.

i want my students to experience what it's like to live in a different country. i want them to learn that you can lack [and i use lack lightly] all of things that we north americans strive for and be content. i want them to see firsthand how love can break down any language barrier. i want them to see that people, such as myself and my fellow leaders, believe in them and are willing to journey with them through all of the emotions they have felt, and will feel, in this process.

and most importantly, i want them to see that they, no matter where they come from or what their past looks like, can make a difference far beyond the community they live in. because they can.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

behind every great woman is a great family, and a great family i have. [wait - did i just call myself great?] ;) but seriously, my family is one of a kind.

mom, you have the biggest heart out of anyone i have ever met. you are constantly seeking out ways to help the five of us out, and wouldn't hesitate to give us the shirt off of your back if we needed it. [please keep your shirt on] ;) i love you and appreciate your example in my life!

robin, where do i start? for the last year, you have welcomed me under your roof and have provided me with such a loving and peaceful home to come home to. i appreciate your generous heart, but even more than that, i appreciate the person you are beyond that. i love you and am inspired by you!

adam, i love watching you interact with your boys! you are such a fantastic dad! on top of that, you're a hard worker and a fighter. i know this last year hasn't been easy [and that's an understatement], but your ability to persevere is admirable. keep going. i love you.

jeff, i'm so glad that mom and dad didn't take you back the day you came home from the hospital even though i, in my selfish one year old way, wanted that. HA. i love you, bro! you never cease to make me laugh and feel protected. never give up!

amanda, you are so beautiful, and kind. you're the first to drop anything and everything when anyone needs you, and the last to stick around when they do. i am honored to call you my sister! [i love you, too, al!]

dad, when i asked a friend of mine if losing her dad got 'easier' with time, she replied, "it actually gets harder; it's just one more day without him". i couldn't agree with her more. i think of you and miss you daily. wish you were still here! xo

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

i love watching my friends soar.

on friday, i will be saying 'good-bye' to one of my greatest friends as she has accepted a well deserved teacher's position in london, ontario. to say that i will miss her something fierce is an understatement, but i'm certain that she will flourish and excel there. love you so much, junkin.

i spent a week at camp this past week watching a woman of God confidently step into a position that would intimidate most people. there are no words to express how proud i was/am of her and how honored i was/am to learn from her and serve alongside her. geninne, you amaze me! get ready for the ride of your life!

while i was at camp this week, i ran into some friends who have just recently accepted a position in our nation's capital. this isn't my story to share on here, but i can't help but beam with pride just thinking about their next step. ottawa is about to be extremely blessed. you'll kill it there! [you know who you are] =)

as my last blog mentioned, i am about to board a plane with two of my greatest friends and five world changing students:

justin and nikki, i am honored to lead alongside you in this and even more honored to call you my friends. i honestly don't know what i would have done without you by my side this year! looking forward to a lifetime of friendship.

zayne, dion, sara, jade, and amina, we are beyond pumped to get to journey with you in this. we believe in you so much!

and last but not least [for now], my fearless tattered tiaras leader and friend, kim. i can't even tell you how proud i am of who you are and your ability to follow your heart and see your vision through. you set out to impact girls all over this world, and that is exactly what you do. let my life attest to that. [now get off the internet and keep rocking malawi] ;)

"give everyone what you owe him: ... if honor, then honor" [romans 13:7]

more to come at a later date. i could do this all day.

i'm sitting at my local second cup with a perma smile on my face. no really, i can see my reflection on the computer screen as i write this. pretty sure people are staring at me. pretty sure they think i'm emailing a boy man.

but i'm not. i'm blogging [just incase you couldn't tell].

today is what i like to call a PAULAday; a day i try and set aside for me each week. some PAULAdays are spent at home doing absolutely nothing. others are spent catching up on sleep. or biking. you name it. but today? today i blog, and write letters, and fill out applications, and reminisce about the amazing week i just had serving at youth camp.

and today, i dream.

in four days i will be boarding my 53rd and 54th flights in 11 years as a few of my greatest friends and i are taking a team of world changing students with us to honduras. for a decade now, i have been dreaming about taking an unchurched team of students with me on a humanitarian type trip. to think that i'm a few days short from seeing this come to pass leaves me feeling speechless, encouraged, and incredibly honored.

beyond that, some stinkin awesome things are in store for my future, but i will keep those details to 'myself' until i feel confident that i can officially release them.

stay tuned.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

i have to admit, i'm not the biggest fan of the olympics. don't get me wrong; i still find myself having to hold back tears every time i hear our national anthem or olympic theme song, i love the adrenaline rush that comes with watching canada compete for a podium spot, and i absolutely love hearing the stories of both triumph and pain behind every competitor, but sitting in front of the TV for hours wishing i was an athlete isn't as appealing as it once was to me.

what i do love, however, is seeing the athletes' family and friends swell up with pride as they watch their loved one compete. there's something special about having 'fans' around you; people who will be the first out to the track if you fall, and the first ones on their feet cheering you on when you win. i can't think of anything greater than knowing that you're believed in, and that someone, anyone, is proud of your accomplishments and who you've become in the process.

call it selfish, but i found myself longing for someone to tell me that they're proud of me today. oddly, i even prayed for this to happen. and here i am moments from calling it a night when i stumble across a letter a friend wrote me not too long a go.

can you take a wild guess as to what the last three words of the letter were?

you guessed it - 'proud of you'.

even the smallest prayers don't seem insignificant in times like these.

thanks, God.