Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What comes first...the button or the necklace?

This will be my one and only post about the election....

I don't like politics. I don't think I ever have. 
Know why?
It's not because of the issues, or the adds on TV, or even the debates.
It's because things like politics and elections bring out a different side to people.

The biggest issue in all of this - to me - is that people put party and issues before faith and spreading the Gospel.

I don't care who you voted for. I don't care what you agree/disagree with. What I care about is the fact that because you spoke out about your political affiliation for the last 2 months you have turned away innumerable people from the message of the cross. 

They saw your Romney/Obama button before they saw your cross necklace.

I don't stand for a candidate. I don't stand for a party. I don't stand for my views on different issues.  The very first thing that people should notice about me is the fact that I stand for the Word of God and the message that He has called me to live out. If my views, affiliation, or opinions come in between that and put up a barrier to the Gospel, then I am to blame. 

Hebrews 12:1
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles..."

2 Corinthians 6:1
"We should put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Don't take the seasons lightly

Fall has to be the most beautiful of all the seasons!

It's so amazing - the vibrant colors! God's beauty is vividly portrayed in every leaf.  It is such a great reminder of how artistic He is.

However, in the changing of the seasons and the falling of the leaves we are also reminded of the frailty of this life. 

Psalm 144:3-4
"O Lord, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breathe; his days are like a fleeting shadow."

It blossoms with sweet aromas ready for growth, it's time of fullness is of utmost importance, and before we know it, it falls to the ground soon before it crumbles into dust.  Like the leaves on the trees, our lives are short-lived.  We are "but a breath."

But how much do we think about the leaves?  When they bloom in the spring we rejoice through sniffling noses because warm weather is approaching.  When the trees are in full and the green canopies give us shade from the heat, we rejoice. And when the weather gets nippy and the leaves change into those beautiful colored outfits, we rejoice.
...But then what? They're gone. They vanish into the ground, and if we're lucky, get covered with snow. But what about them? They are lost...forgotten...buried under time.

So are we, aren't we?

We are born into this world with blooming potential. We grow - hopefully - into the fullness of what we were meant to be all along. And as we age we start to fall and fade back into the dust we came from.

Yet all the while, we are thought of. Just as we think of the leaves on the trees, the One above thinks of you and me.  We are like a breathe in the span of time - we come, we live, we go - yet God above thinks of us!

Don't take the seasons lightly.

We all have a favorite season.  For some of us, it's summer - we cannot wait for the cold to go away so that we can get to the beach! For others it's fall - we just love the festive-ness of the season. And then there are you "holiday cheer-meister's" who are all gung-ho for the holidays.
Regardless, we all look forward to our favorite season, but we dread all the rest. We don't take time to stop and smell the roses...or take a dip in the ocean...or jump in a pile of leaves...or truly celebrate the reason for the season.  We wish them away like they're nothing. But they are vital to the rest of the seasons.  You need a spring to have a fall.      

Every season of our lives is as equally important as the other.

How crazy is that? We are nothing. Our lives are so short and seemingly unimportant to the spans of time, yet God above thinks of us, knows us, cherishes us, and loves us more than we could ever know!

Think back on that verse: "...what is man that you care for is like a breathe..."
Each man is like a single leaf on a tree...supposedly nothing, yet absolutely something in the eyes of the Lord.

Don't waste your time on this tree. Bloom passionately. Grow and live with purpose. And go shining brightly and vibrantly displaying the Lord's work in your life.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Claiming Confidence

The Lord's Promises (Assurance that God will do what he said) & Provisions (the action of providing or supplying something for use):

I am for you                --->   Romans 8:31
I believe in you           --->   Psalm 8
I will not fail you         --->   Hebrews 13:5
I am with you              --->   Matthew 28:20
I will provide for you   --->   Philippians 4:19
I love you                    --->   Psalm 145:13
I want to bless you      --->   Genesis12:2; Matthew 5:3-10
I will give you rest       --->   Matthew 11:28
I will strengthen you    --->   Isaiah 41:31
I will answer you         --->   Jeremiah 33:3
I will guide you           --->   Psalm 32:8
I know you                  --->   Psalm 139:1
I have a plan for you   --->   Jeremiah 29:11
I am                           --->   Exodus 3:14

Philippians 1:6
"Be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Claim Confidence in HIM!
Remember HIS Promises and Provisions!


tell about THE ONE

tell about THE ONE

The first day I was with my ISF team before our Kenya trip we had a team meeting. Our leader, Eric, told us something small, but it has stuck with me and I'm not sure if I'll ever forget it.
He said, "You will see a lot of need...a lot of poverty, and hunger, and sickness....and you can't fix it."  We don't have money. We don't have medicine. We don't have food. We cannot meet their physical needs. BUT...the one gift we do have is THE MOST IMPORTANT!

Many times we think "I can't help them, I don't have any money (or food) to give." and so many times, that is exactly what people need - money, food, water, medicine.  
But, their greatest needs are not physical. Their greatest needs cannot be met by man alone. Their greatest needs are not earthly and temporary. 

What they need most - what we CAN give them 100% of the time - is the gift of GOD.
[  the Christmas story; the gift of eternal life; the promise of salvation!  ]
We CAN tell them about THE ONE.
the One and Only. 
the First and Last, Beginning and End. 
the Creator of heaven and earth. 
the Maker of the moon and the stars. 
the Giver of life. 
the Author of salvation.
the ONE who's peace passes all understanding.
the ONE who made the blind to see and the lame to walk.
the ONE who laid down His life for you and me.
the ONE who is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!

Without THE ONE there is no way we could HELP ONE (because no persons needs could be met) or BE ONE (because we couldn't make a difference to people in need).

Mark 16:15



(another one of the concepts behind "ONE")

Whereas BE ONE is like you and me being the little girl in the starfish story,
HELP ONE is referring to the starfish.

There are so many starfish out there. There are so many people who have washed up on the shore and are waiting to die: the tide left without them, they are buried too deep in the sand, and the sun is just too much to handle so they crack.  These people need help. Just like the starfish, if something isn't done then they'll all die.
Like I said, there are so many out there! Millions and millions to be more clear.
millions of people are hurting.
millions of people are dying.
millions of people are broken.
millions of people are alone.
millions of people are scared.
millions of people have no hope.
millions of people are LOST.
So how can we possibly make a difference?  Start with ONE.

ONE person is all it takes to make a difference, all it takes is ONE person to make a difference TO! 




(one of the three concepts behind "ONE")

We all have the ability to make a difference, yet so many times we leave it to someone else. 
We think, "somebody else will help" "somebody else will give" "somebody else will go."
Well why not YOU? Why not ME? 
If I do it - that's ONE. If you do it too, that's another ONE. and so on and so on...
Each ONE of us makes a difference. Each ONE of us matters.

BE ONE is all about YOU!
being ONE is about making a difference - saying to yourself "I am ONE."
you are not JUST one and you are not ONLY one, you are A one, and that is all it takes.

Be one person. Be the only person you know how to be. Be you. Be true to yourself.
Be a helping hand. Be a cheerful smile. Be a warming heart. Be a loving embrace. 
BE the hands and feet of Jesus. BE the salt and light of the world. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Born to Live

Have you ever noticed how we spend the majority of our lives WAITING?

We wait in check-out lines at the grocery store.
We wait for our food to come at restaurants.
We wait for the traffic lights to change so we can get to where we are going.
We wait for that Tuesday release of our favorite artists brand new CD.
We wait for storms to pass before going outside.
We wait for Mr. or Mrs.Right to come prancing into our lives.


I've been doing a lot of waiting myself here lately.
Since January, really, I've just been waiting on God to reveal to me what it is that He wants me to do with my life.  The major that I had, and the life that I had planned out, were no longer an option -- God obviously had something better, but what?? Why take away something that I loved, something I was good at? Why leave me with no plan, just wandering....and waiting? I've come to learn that while we are just waiting for something to happen, God is already making things happen - we just may not see it. God's timing is absolutely perfect, and He reveals things to us in His timing, not ours! So while I feel like I am just waiting for God to work, in reality He is already hard at work, I just may not feel the affects or understand all the pieces at that time.

The key to waiting, I have learned, is not to wait.

There is a difference between "being still" and "not moving."
When we do not move, we are just sitting idly not doing anything.
But, when we are "being still" (like in Psalm 46 "Be still, and know") we are active - we are listening, we are resting, we are at peace, we are calming ourselves and acknowledging the Lord.

The same concept holds true for waiting.
When we think of waiting in our terms, we think of the non-active, not doing anything, "not moving" sense of waiting.
But in God's way of waiting we are to be active - listening, resting, seeking, serving, worshiping.
Psalm 27:13-14 says, "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
Psalm 130:5-6 says, "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord."
These two verses give a lot of action to waiting. We need to put our hope in the Lord; We need to be strong and persevere; We need to turn towards the Word and receive God's wisdom; We need to serve Him and His Kingdom; We need to listen to His voice and follow wherever it may lead.
While we wait we are not to stop - we are to continue down the path God has laid before us. Our journey with God does not come to a stand-still just because we don't know the next steps to take.

As born-again Christians we are all waiting to reach our eternal home - to finish our journey at the feet of the King. That sounds like a lifetime of waiting, which could seems quite dull... but when we look at it in the Biblical "waiting" - the active waiting - then we can see that it's a lifetime full of action: service, worship, learning, and LIVING! Christ died so that we could have LIFE (John 10:10). And He didn't give His life so that we could waste ours. Paul writes at the end of 2 Timothy 4, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Paul might have done a lot of waiting in his life, but that doesn't mean he wasted his life. He spent his life doing the work of God - living out the Gospel.
You were born to LIVE - so live for Him! 
Even while you wait, Run your race! Keep the faith! Don't lose heart! Serve Him! Worship Him! Move ahead boldly and confidently! Be obedient!!

 Listen to the words of the song, "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller
**this is not my video**

Sunday, August 12, 2012

There is a time for everything..

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build, 
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak, 
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil?
I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Just in the last 2 or 3 days this passage has found me multiple times and for different reasons.
I won't rest on those, but just take your time and read over this passage and let God speak to you through it, just as He has spoken to me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kenya Video 2012

I wanna set the world on fire
Until it's burning bright for You
It's everything that I desire
Can I be the one You use?

I, I am small but
You, You are big enough
I, I am weak but 
You, You are strong enough to
Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord with you
There's nothing I cannot do
Nothing I cannot do

I wanna feed the hungry children 
And reach across the farthest land
And tell the broken there is healing
And mercy in the Father's hands

I, I am small but
You, You are big enough
I, I am weak but 
You, You are strong enough to
Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord with you
There's nothing I cannot do
Nothing I cannot do

Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord with you
There's nothing I cannot do
Nothing I cannot do

My hands, my feet
Me everything
My life, my love
Lord, use me

I wanna set the world on fire
I wanna set the world on fire, yeah

Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord with you
There's nothing I cannot do
Nothing I cannot do
Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord with you
There's nothing I cannot do
Nothing I cannot do

I'm gonna set the world on fire
Set the world on fire

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I heard that statement before I went to Kenya, but I didn't fully understand it until I experienced it.

There are things in this world that cannot be captured with a camera, videotaped, recorded, or even described.  While on my trip, I kept a list of things that I didn't - and/or couldn't - take a picture of: the mountains and Lake Victoria (pictures don't do these justice); the perfect and most beautiful sunsets; the full moon rising as the sun was setting; and the pitch-black night sky with thousands and millions of visible stars.

Along with these beautiful sights, there were 4 moments that I couldn't photograph, and those moments were the moments that changed me.

Moment number 1:
One of the last things my momma told me before the trip was "Do not bring home any babies - we don't have room in our house, and I'm not ready to be a grandmother."....yea love you too mom... 
The thing was, she knew I would want to take every last kid home with me.  I, too, thought that would be the case, but for some reason or another I never felt that incredible pull towards one particular kid.  That was until we went to the elementary school.
Those kids were the absolute sweetest! They just had the time of their lives runnin around chasing soccer balls and tossing balloons in the air. For most of our time there I just handed out balloons, embraced the moment, and took pictures...that was until this little girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old with a Little Mermaid tshirt on, handed me a small balloon....All she wanted was for me to toss the balloon with her, so we tossed the balloon back and forth for probably 30 minutes, and the whole time she never said one word.  She had the cutest little smile and the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. And she stole me heart.
I never got her name, I don't know her age, and I will probably never see her again in this life - but she captured my heart. Her innocence, her joy, her angel-like eyes, her longing and need for someone to pay even a minute of attention to her...they broke me...she broke me...the little children of Africa broke me...

Moment number 2:
All week long we went to different schools to play soccer with kids, do Bible stories, and sing songs. It was all filled with so much life and so much joy! But on Saturday we went to the hospital in Migori - definitely NOT a place filled with joy and life. We went there to hand out Bibles and to pray with people...little did I know that that would be the most difficult thing I did all week. 
How do you talk to people with no translators to interpret? How do you give out Bibles when people don't even know what they are? How do you pray for someone when you don't know what to pray for - healing or just comfort through the pain? How do you smile and show hope when what you are seeing is breaking your heart to pieces? 
The hospital really shook me up. I was completely unprepared for what I saw and everything I experienced. It was like a real picture of what their life is so wrapped around, and that's death. Death is very real to them. So to be put in a place that was so opposite from everything we had been a part of - life, love, joy, and hope - was eye-opening. 

Moment number 3: 
Right after we left the hospital we went straight to a second orphanage in Migori. Thats when a lot of my confusion and heartache took place.  Now how am I supposed to go from such a state of shock and heartbreak to a place of joy and fun and happiness for these kids?! I was NOT okay with any of it.  
So for the first little while we were there I laid low.  I handed out lanyards and made bracelets for the little kids. I didn't get involved because I was emotionally drained and weary.  
But of course, God was at work.
He sent me two angels.
Two 16 year old girls came and sat beside me - Alice and Esther.
We talked for at least an hour: we talked about school, their lives, my life, what college was like, boys, faith and trust in Jesus Christ - you name it, we talked about it. They were so smart. They had such big dreams and expectations for themselves. And most of all, they believed in the power of prayer, the power of love, and the power of God. It was just what I needed, and God knew it.
As we were leaving we gave all the kids hugs goodbye, and I probably hugged Alice and Esther 3 or 4 times each.  But as I made my way into the van, after hugging several other children, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and Esther just wrapped her arms around me and hugged my neck. She whispered in my ear, "Melonie, I will never forget you."
I didn't get a picture of those girls, and like with the other kids, I may never see them again in this life. BUT - those two girls changed my life just as much as I might have changed theirs.  And the same thing holds true - I will NEVER forget Alice and Esther.

Moment number 4:
We had many unforgettable nights. We had bonfires. We had a movie night. We sat in on their nightly devotions. We played checkers. They taught us Swahili...all of the nights were memorable, but this one night put the icing on the cake. 
After we had our "feast" of chicken and rice with the kids, they went in to watch a movie, and we stayed behind to have a little meeting. When we walked outside when the meeting was over and the sun was long gone, we were just stunned by the brilliant night sky.  I have never ever seen so many stars in all my life, matter-of-fact, I didn't really believe that many stars existed. We were so overjoyed at the sight that we just took off running into the field, away from the lights of the center.  And we just stopped. What a glorious sight!
We each found our own little spots in the field and we just spent some time with the Maker of all of it. Some sang, some danced. I just laid there. I began to talk to God about everything - that day, the whole trip, his incredible blessings, and many lessons. I was so awe-inspired. 
And just as I opened my eyes I saw a shooting star dance across the whole night sky.
I was so amazed that I couldn't do anything but laugh. That's right, I started laughing! I couldn't believe my eyes. At that moment, the reality of everything hit me. I was in Africa, laying in a field, looking up at the heavens just glittered with stars shining God's glory! I have never felt so small, yet so important in all my life. I'm looking up at a universe that is far bigger than I can even wrap my mind around, yet the God of it all SEES me, and KNOWS me, and LOVES ME!!!

How could it be any better? The answer: it couldn't. It didn't need to be. God made that day absolutely perfect. He made the day before it perfect, and He has made every single day since then...perfect.  

These moments changed my life! They've changed it in different ways, and definitely in different times. I am not even close to understanding everything that happened, everything that I experienced. And to be honest, I'm not quite sure how they've changed me yet. I do know that God works in incredible ways. He proved it in Kenya, and He proves it everyday. 

Some things are only meant for the eyes to see. They can't be captured. They can't be described. But they can be remembered. They can be treasured. They can be felt, deep down in the depths of your heart. And what a wonderful gift that is.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Some Things About KENYA...

I want to share a few of the things I noticed/found interesting/loved about KENYA!!

#1 Soccer (aka "futbol")
     It doesn't matter how big or small the field is;
     it doesn't matter how tall or short the grass is cut;
     it doesn't matter if there are 6 people or 60 people playing;
     it doesn't matter if they have shoes or not;
     it doesn't matter how big, small, or flat the ball is....

#2 The little children :) 
     These are the happiest, friendliest kids I have ever met!
     They all just wave and smile.
     The little children often run after our van with big grins.
     It is seriously the most precious thing I've ever seen!


#3 The roads....
     Their roads give a whole new meaning to "backroads"...
     Most roads are straight dirt...the back roads are straight rock..
     Either way, they are bumpy!!

     (I'm not gonna lie, I kinda miss those roads)

#4 School!!!
     In their schools, they do not call them "grades" 
       (like 1st grade or 7th grade), they call them "classes."
     Also, they don't call it elementary, middle, or high school - 
       instead, it's primary=elementary and middle (1-8) and 
       secondary=high school.
     Each class at a normal primary school has about 50-70 kids!
       Now imagine that teachers!!

#5 Talking 
     In Kenya, the average person knows 3 languages:
       English, Swahili, and their tribal language
     Becasue of this, and the language barrier, I had to learn to
     T  A  L  K    V  E  R  Y    S  L  O  W  L  Y!

I love this land!
 #6 This land!
     I have always loved the country more than the city, and that makes this place 10x's more 
     The mountains are inspiring!
     Lake Victoria is breath-taking!
     There are rice paddies and maze (corn) fields..
     There are banana trees and pineapple trees..
     There are avacado and papaya trees..
     and there are sugar cane fields....EVERYWHERE!!
     .....and I LOVE IT!!!

#7 The animals..
     It just wouldn't be right if there weren't animals roaming all   
         around: cows, goats, donkeys, chicken....these are a few of 
         the mischevious creatures
     (it's kinda weird NOT seeing them everywhere...)

#8 The sounds
     I might have worn earplugs, but I would take the sounds of Africa over the sounds of a city in    
     America any day!

#9 The food!
     Ugali, chapattis, and mandazi are just a few of the traditional Kenyan foods I got to try!
     Of course, you can't go wrong with rice and beans or a cup of chai!
     They don't have a lot of flavor or variety, but the food is inexpensive and nutritious.

#10 Their smiles :) :) :) :) :) :)
Cynthia, Jen, and Flora :)
      they have the MOST BEAUTIFUL smiles ever!!!
      they have so much joy and life inside of them!
      it really is crazy - they have so few possessions, yet so much joy,
          while we have so much stuff and no joy at all...
      I love these smiles!! I LOVE THESE KIDS!


Saturday, July 21, 2012



I am ONE.
I am only ONE person. 
but that's all it takes - ONE.

ONE - created the moon and the stars.
ONE - breathed life into man.
ONE - laid down His life for you and me.
ONE - loved me first.
ONE - will come back ONEday.

I have recently been reminded of the starfish story:

  A young girl was walking along the beach when she noticed thousands and thousands of starfish washed up on the sand. She noticed that the sun was coming up and the tide was going out, and she knew that if she didn't do something all the starfish would die.  So she began picking them up and throwing them back in the ocean.
An older man saw the girl and wondered what she was doing, so he asked, "What are you doing?"
and the girl replied, "The sun is coming up and the tide is going out and if I don't do something all of these starfish will die."
"But sweetie," the old man replied, "Can't you see? There are miles and miles of beach and thousands and thousands of starfish. You cannot possibly make a difference!" 
The young girl, crushed and defeated, thought for a moment. Then she bent down, picked up a starfish, and threw it back in the ocean. "I made a difference to that ONE."

The concept of ONE has been on my heart and mind a lot lately.

I heard this story while I was in Kenya and it really impacted the way I thought. At the time, I felt like I hadn't made a very big difference.  But once I heard this, I realized a few things:

  1. NUMBERS don't matter. 
  2. HOW doesn't matter.
  3. WHO doesn't matter.
It didn't matter if I reached ONE person or ONE thousand people.
It didn't matter if I reached them playing soccer, singing a song, or talking for two hours.
And it didn't matter if I reached the kids at the orphanage, the people in the community, or the people on my team.

ONE person can make a difference. 
I can make a difference. 
I must make a difference. 
I must be ONE. 
I am ONE. 
I am ONE to make a difference. 
I am ONE to help.
I am ONE to show and share.
I am ONE to love. 
I AM ONE, so I must go out to the other ONES: I cannot just sit along the shore while some are washing up, drying out, and dying, and others are drifting out to sea, struggling, and sinking. 

What mattered was the fact that I reached. I was helping. I was playing. I was singing. I was sharing. I was loving.
...I was throwing starfish back into the ocean...I was making a difference, even if it was only to ONE.

Live life like you are the only ONE that can make a difference.
Help ONE person like they are the only person out there to help.
Tell others about THE ONLY ONE that can truly save.

Help ONE.
Tell others about THE ONE.