Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Still working on my father/ daughter devotional, due soon. Came across this passage, which was especially convicting and compelling in the Message translation. Lord, you know what You're talking about through this servant writer. And boy do I ever aspire to reach these statutes.

1 Timothy 2:9-10
“Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” (The Message)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Devotional/ Devotion

"Out of necessity I became a 'translator', daily standing on the border between two worlds, getting the language of the Bible that God uses to create and save us, heal us and bless us, judge and rule over us, into the language of the Today (struggle between in but not of- John 15) that we use gossip and tell stories, give directions and do business, sing songs and talk to our children." Eugene H. Peterson, about the beginnings of writing his devotional The Message: Solo.

As I'm writing a father/daughter devotional for Antioch families, this struck me as a fresh conviction. Thanks Father, as you stuck this directly in my own devotional life to affect the work you're allowing happen through me. Pretty cool line-up you had in store there....

This quote, along with some daily devos I've been chewing on myself for the past few weeks, are provoking my heart and mind to ask questions of reason, for this project and my spiritual habits:

- Definition of 'Devotional' to the language world of Today:

Selections from Webster.... hehe
Of, relating to, expressive of, or used in devotion, especially of a religious nature.
n. A piece of music or writing about or pertaining to devotion; Of or pertaining to devotion or worship. A short religious service.

-Definition in the language world of the Bible:

“Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” --Of Hezekiah
2 Kings 20:2-4

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you..."
1 Chronicles 28:8-10

Just a couple of excerpts, from the records of men who reaped a bold harvest from faithfulness- linked to devotion... But straightforward in reminding one of the purpose of devotion, devotionals (outlets to practice and express our devotion in a language of Bible) and the attitude in which we pursue the outcome of relationship with Christ. Devotion is a crucial element, including the act of a faith-driven life, and the heart behind one who chases it relentlessly.

As Oswald C. labeled his devotional work and I can identify with more now than ever before- I surrender this writing process and outcome to be my utmost for His highest. Your will be done, Father.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Provisions. Prayer. and Solitude.

I'm completely astounded at what God's done this summer. And what He's going to do with complete faithfulness this fall.

...Got a job. Back at Joann fabrics September 1st :)
Went in because I wanted to "cover my bases" for all job opps. possible. The manager, who was conveniently working at the front, remembered me from a resume I turned in mid-April, and hired me on the spot. "Oh, it's you! We need to meet sometime this week to fill out your paperwork. How does starting in the beginning of September sound?" Needless to say, a heavy sigh of relief escaped my chest, which I didn't know had welled up to such an amount. I was trusting that God would provide, but WOW, what a provision. One of many.

...Plugged into the college group- Sunday nights and Tuesday night girls' bible studies. The group is small, possibly going to grow as fall makes its way around... But I love it. The people are there with purpose; Bend is not known for being a college-town (even though it has amazing potential to be one, someday...), and the nights are held far north of town. These people want to be here, to be growing, nurtured, and in fellowship, whether over pizza or deep conversations. This Sunday, it was both. It feels natural and familiar to be there; this is something I wasn't expecting in such fullness, or right away. But He's granted it, to my absolute awe.

And all I have to say about these things is hallelujah. Over and over, every day.

"I could climb a mountain
Swim the ocean
Or do anything
But it's when you hold me
That I start unfolding
And all I can say is

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah" Bethany Dillon, 'Hallelujah'

I'm truly bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy. And it's astoundingly beautiful.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Boating, and the past week of intern craziness...

My oh my. It has been far too long since I've written. Time is truly going by so fast that I'm afraid to blink and miss the last three weeks that lie ahead.

A fellow intern has been posting daily about things that get to her heart and head, in a more abstract way than I'm used to-- And I'm thinking I'll try to let things splat onto paper versus plan out ways to bring up each topic. It's a freer way of writing and sounds more like a conversation than a formal journal entry.

Option day was today- There were choices to bike, go to Crater lake, and a couple of boating trips- I was lucky enough to get into the all-day boating trip with John Wytsma and Brian Rey.
Drove to the Prineville reservoir, hung out on a small side beach playing frisbee and reading, and folks went inter tubing and wake boarding. So much fun to tube, and to watch people muster up their strength on the board. Didn't get the courage to try it this time, but no doubt that I'll conquer it at some point. : )

I'm no longer restless with the fact that I haven't found a job yet. Occasionally nervous and apprehensive, maybe, but it's becoming easier to trust that God will pave a way, in a job I like or not, to prove His provisions and keep me here. I did find out a few more job opportunities to look into (and in places I'm actually interested in!) by talking with John and Brian. They say it's all about the people you know in Bend. Through prayer and petition, I trust God will lead me to the right people and situations.

There's something about the rain (which has been coming down in the last couple of days) that makes me miss Portland. Sure, rain is everywhere, and I love Bend so much, but there are things about your hometown that just stick to your bones. No matter how much I think I've fallen in love with Bend, these feelings of Portland nostalgia pull hard on my heart... And at times where I least expect it.

I was re-reading Donald Miller's 'Through Painted Deserts' today, and even though I could quote half the book and get my point across because his writing is so rich and easy to relate to, there were a few parts that stuck out to me more than they had in the past:

Everybody has to change, or they expire. Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.
I want to keep my soul fertile for changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for them to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently.

There are just about a million and a half ways I can relate to these truths.
I moved for change, no matter how much I thought it was out of convenience or for what I thought were primarily logical reasons-- But then again, who says pursuing CHANGE isn't for logical reasons?

I've been feeling unambitious, because I can't make my mind up for the fall, and I can't get a more clear sound of where the Lord wants me to take a step. It's been scary to embrace uncertainty (a topic I've very much been in prayer and thought about, and reading vigorously), in not knowing things. Before this summer, I might have said it was scary to 'not have a plan'. But with some much needed perspective shifting, God convicted me of whose plans really exist and matter. There really is no such thing as my own plan-- My constructs of school, work, a place to live, church, ministry, and relationships only stand to be laid at my father's feet in prayer and surrender, to which I must have a trusting and joyful heart no matter the outcome.

I believe God meets us when we place ourselves in uncomfortable, stretching circumstances, when we have a heart seeking to grow from His presence in them. I see this in my social circle's travels, unexpected life changes, missions, marriage, raising kids, school, the list can and does go on for miles. In these physical or spiritual miles we walk in stride with Christ, He leads. He instructs. And I'm coming to realize my journey coming and being here will be an amazing adventure, with twists and turns down an inevitably bumpy yet joy-filled road that I couldn't begin to craft with the creativity and care He utilizes.

I love Portland for new reasons. Researching sex trafficking ratios and growth patterns burns my soul in ways I didn't know were possible. That's MY town, and God's people. My neighbors. The physical location is beautiful and distraught. I can't help but feel an obligation to pray, with a more succinct understanding of the city's pains, and know that God placed me there through childhood for a specific purpose.

To have a fertile soul, where I'm growing consistently- Communication with the Lord is a must. And a natural desire of my heart. After hearing Wytsma's first sermon of 'Heaven and Hell' last Sunday, I've been challenged to seek God in ways that go past feeling his presence, or doing doctrine for a sense of security--- I'm visiting the Lord in prayer about what a relationship looks like to Him. It's never something we will fully grasp, but it's been encouraging and forthright to see how He yearns to know us through noticing creation, friendships, and the countless blessings that shower my week.

There's more, but it's sunny outside, and it's nap time. : )

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Human Trafficking Videos

An intern friend of mine and I interviewed Bend native, Antioch-er and Transitions Global representative Darcey Bridges about modern day slavery taking place in human trafficking last week. Got great stuff between the three of us, including an intriguing idea for a video project we are going to make a draft of and bring to Antioch leadership for opinions and the green light... to use it in service, to post on Antioch's page, or to use for other avenues linked to Antioch.

These are videos I'm collecting to pick apart- there's good and bad in each one, and we're set on displaying the reality of modern human trafficking, but in a way that the church isn't pressured in a guilty way to act upon, but out of heart and calling.

.... I don't think I've cried this much in years.

Email Update #1: Bend Goodness

Hello y'all- Bad me for keeping you waiting this long... Just been 'busy', you know? It's a summertime kind of busy- The kind that is so relaxing at times that you willingly push things like this aside, or are actually so busy that it's out of the question... I think I've finally found a comfortable in-between time where I can make this habit.

To fill in where I've been up to now:

I came a week before the other interns started to arrive, to actually move all my things to Bend (living pretty light, though- Didn't take that much), since it's my goal to stay out here for the fall and who knows how much longer. I knew once we came into the main part of Bend- The Old Mill District (it's like a shopping center, concert arena, all around a scenic chunk of the Deschutes, nestled in a place where you can see almost all the snow-capped mountain ranges of Oregon) that I needed to be here longer than the summer internship allowed.
It's a healing and rejuvenating place, and a complete answer to prayer after these last two years of spiritual dryness and confusion ("God what do you want for my life?" over and over)

I spent hours every day at the church office, helping out at the front desk, prepping stuff for the coming interns, organizing and cleaning etc. spaces. It felt so good to just be doing work, after having done nothing this last term (I took this last term off from school to save up for the internship and be ready for the move). It felt good to be needed and wanted.
Later, I would come home to Zach and Heather's (the amazing cousins I am living with right now, in their cozy upstairs bedroom they opened up for me!) and spend time with their kiddos, Megan (6), and their twins they adopted form the Congo in January 2011, Noah and Lauren (2 1/2). They are so sweet and precious, it was hard for me to get any work done while I was at home. Now I don't get to see them for days at a time, since it's non-stop work at the church and coffee shops and they go to bed right after dinner.

Noah clings onto anyone who will hold hold him for a long period of time, but he comes to me every time with arms open wide, and tries his best to sound out my name.
Lauren is obsessed with my nose ring and jewelry- She points to it, says it out loud as best she can, and says "Ooh" when I put on different earrings. Definitely loves the bling.
Megan and I are working on hand-sewing projects, which she is always super excited about when we get the chance to sit down and go through together. She sings the cutest made-up songs from everything about cleaning her room to making pudding. I love these kids. They bring so much joy that I felt I was lacking back into my life.

Got used to driving around in Bend faster than I thought I would. LOTS of round-abouts and very few left turn lanes. Streets turning into different names, and highway speeds of 45 mph.
This is, for sure, a very laid back town compared to what I'm used to. It didn't take me long to fall in love with the easy-going nature of people's sense of 'come as you are' and 'take your time'.

The coffee and the food. OH my lanta. They are absolutely to die for. Don't think I'll ever be selective enough to choose a favorite, but I've been to Thump coffee, Strictly Organic, Pine hollow, Backporch Roasters, the Looney Bean, and a couple others. Not a single cup has left me disappointed. That goes for the tea as well.
For food, I've tried Parilla grill, 10 barrel (Thai chicken/peanut pizza is delish!), Bend Brewing Company (killer sweet potato fries), Jackson's Corner (super sandwiches, located in an old-town residential area), Greg's Grill, Jimmy John's, and more.... No wonder rich people come here to retire. And I'm getting to know my server/ baristas' names.

We have 29 interns this summer, with a myriad of focuses. Some are interning with World Relief, a missional outreach organization with a media and graphic arts location here in Bend. My mentor Amanda works there (each intern is assigned an intern, and boy was I lucky to get her!), and she has an amazing heart for the Lord in serving with photography, administration, and media writing. She recently went to Uganda for a small team trip to connect with an orphanage/ school near Kampala and grow relationships with the leaders and children. Antioch is partnering with this organization- which means being bound to their steps financially, in prayer, and as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as they lauch new parts of making their programs more efficient and accessible to more kids. Here's the link to a video Amanda made, all about Otino Waa: http://vimeo.com/24749772

Back to focuses.... Children's ministry, outdoor ministry, music and worship, graphic arts and design, writing, missions, discipleship, pastoral, videography, photography, working at the Kilns college and bookstore/ coffee house (it's a human rights book and gift store, coffee house, and has classrooms where the college holds faith-based classes in the fall through Winter. All the people who 'work' there are volunteers, and proceeds of all merchandise go towards supporting the college and human-rights organizations, like IJM and Not For Sale. I spend A LOT of time in there, sipping a latte and working on my latest intern project.)

So, here's the shpeal on what I'M doing this summer... I signed up to do missions, with an area of interest on anti-human trafficking.
Brandon Reynolds is the community pastor at Antioch, as well as the director of the summer and year long internship programs. He's in charge of the interns focusing on pastoral, discipleship and missions. After spending about a week learning about Bend, getting to know our fellow interns, and getting a good grasp on what Antioch is all about/ their vision for the future and what the internship program looks like, we met with Brandon in our focus groups and were given choices of projects to work on. He literally had a stack of pamphlets, emails, and past info booklets produced by Antioch that he gave us free reign on to choose what we would dive into for the next two and a half months. Some were to do research of certain organizations, local and global, meet with representatives, and evaluate if Antioch should partner with them or not. Another kind was to work on a very specific project brought up by people within the church body, who had a project they were already working on and needed assistance with. And some were getting into the nitty-gritty parts of being the hands and feet of a budding organization, like helping the Ryan family begin a youth missions hostile in South America. The interns under Brandon all meet together on Mondays to discuss our projects and where we're at with them, and collaborate to make our gifts spread where we're needed to make our works happen (we've only got 10 weeks to accomplish all our goals!)

I was really overwhelmed by all of this, and chose a couple of tasks to get started on. But after emailing the people to meet with them and figure things out further, they wouldn't get back to me. And I was super discouraged. I waited about a week to hear from them, met with Brandon to talk about other options, and he offered me a new idea:
They need help in the office, with some administration tasks in the missions department (Antioch is still very new at determining just how the church is meant to be involved with missions, locally and globally, financially, etc.- which is also something all the missions interns are helping pray about and decipher), as well as keeping correspondence with partner organizations and maintaining the church's mission blog : http://www.antiochchurch.org/_blog/Antioch_Missions_Blog
I'll be editing and writing for the blog (which means interviewing local authors, organization workers, and church goers involved in missions and writing reports on their knowledge), while learning how to and helping out with admin, as well as helping with the Justice Conference 2012- more to come on this later, but I met the director Erin Lytle, and she expressed a great need for help in event coordination! Will hear from her soon about how I can help.
In a larger perspective, I'll be stabilizing some parts of what Antioch needs to make their grounds for the missions department strong, as they discover what next steps need to be made to act on what the church's role is in missions. Since I'm staying past the summer internship, I'm going to volunteer as much as I can to maintain projects after summer interns leave.

The internship is a lot more informal and come-as-you-go that I thought it would be; make-your-own program according to your focus (which I'm having a lot of fun doing).
I've bought several books to learn more about human trafficking, missions in the church, and global Christianity:

Not For Sale, by David Gladstone
Stop The Traffik, by Steve Chalke and Cherie Blair (doing a written review and analysis of this one-SO good!)
Right here Right now- "Everyday missions for Everyday people", by Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford
Not In My Town- "Exposing & Ending Human Trafficking &Modern-Day Slavery", by Dillon Burroughs and Charles Powell
and Kingdom Without Borders- "The untold Story of Global Christianity", by Miriam Adeney
(Got all of these on our trip to Cannon Beach for surfing- We went to Portland and hit Powells bookstore for some learning material... I lucked out!)

Phew. So, needless to say, I'm gonna be busy.

We get to go on several retreats to see the sights of Oregon- We went to Smith Rock to rock climb and hike misery Ridge a couple of weekends ago.
I got to billet twice, and tried to climb at the end of the day- but after hiking for two hours, I couldn't make it past the first stretch!! So tiring. But we get to go again soon on our off-time.
It's crazy to be so close to where professionals come for their training- We watched a climber go up a completely flat rock; absolutely crazy to watch them get up with such ease.
And, we saw people walking a tight-rope from one cliff to a rock formation called Monkey Face (yes, it looks just like a monkey), one attached to a line, and one without. The guy without one made it, and the other didn't. These adrenaline junkies are INSANE. But really entertaining to watch.

So now, I'm just in the beginning process of figuring out what all these tasks mean. What all of these words written on pages make clear about God's heart for missions as a part of his bride. It's really a bigger question than I thought needed to be answered- Some times when i think about it, I'm so overcome by it's vastness (for a little brain like mine in comparison to the creator), and have to find ways to continually surrender it to God.
"YOU know how these pieces of your church, your people, your vision for the future, and this idea of missions go together. Calm my heart so that I may listen, so that I may be overcome with your holy spirit, and poured into with an understanding of how to reach your people on such different levels- You know better than I, and I trust your leads more than any."

This is a similar prayer to what I keep thinking and saying every time I begin to feel the slightest bit overwhelmed.

"If our God is for us, WHO can be against us?"

Just got back from our surf trip last night, and today is just a day to recuperate, rest, and gear up for the coming week of working hard, playing hard, and making the kingdom come alive.
That's it for now. Gonna go stick my nose in one of them books and enjoy what comes out of each one....
Blessings, my friends and family- My prayers are with you that you have blessed adventures and journeys this summer, and that God is directing you towards His objects of affection.

All my love, Emily

Monday, May 23, 2011

In Bend

Okay, it's one of those times where I don't WANT to write, but there's so much to document and be thankful about that if I don't update things, I'll feel like I'm missing a puzzle piece to this blog when I return and see it isn't there. So....

Held a small going away party for those wishing to see me off. It was such a sweet time to look back, bask in memories while catching up with friends and family on present happenings and future hopes, opportunities, and prayers. It was the fellowship that I needed over these last two years that proved my leaving was for an important cause.

Said goodbyes, including an especially hard one to a rather close friend who has been so dear to me for the last two years-- Then, staying up way too late, packed up stuff. Woke in the morning to pack MORE stuff, packed up the car myself (with not too much stuff, I might add- Thought I did rather well for my first time moving out), and the parents, Shan and I left for Bend around noon.

I drove a good 3/4 of the way there, feeling like every mile towards Bend was developing a newness and fresh perspective on things. I could hardly believe at points that I was physically here- This moment had come, things arranged and prepared, and I was finally DOING it.

Arrived at the Capells home- These are my dear cousins Heather and Zach, with their kids Megan (6), Noah, and Lauren (twins, 2). They, being the generous and compassionate people that they are, were willing to let me stay in the spare bedroom of their lovely house, free of charge, and insistent on feeding me. While I felt the impulse to insist upon paying rent or helping out with the weekly grocery bill, I felt peace about the set up and knew I would have opportunities to pay them back in various ways, if not in funds.

My parents left Sunday after church at Antioch (which was so settling, by the way- I really feel the combination of being at home yet challenged there- exactly what I felt at the justice conference/ my visit to Bend in February). This was less difficult than I thought it would be- There were fewer tears than anticipated, less emotions of anxiousness and fear, and near to no worries of whether or not I was doing the right thing.

Things I had been struggling with for months at home in Tigard seemed to melt away- or if they lingered at all in the back of my mind, I could tell a difference of my surrendering them to God in this place- The Holy Spirit is alive and kicking in this new home of mine, no doubt about it.

The kids are a blast to be with- I'm already learning so much about their tendencies as individuals and children, Heather's loving but firm mothering qualities, and everyone's tenderness. Parts of me are starting to thaw and become sensitive again.. This is a large part of why I wanted to leave, be here, and embark on this summer journey.

Bend is beautiful. Seriously breathtaking. And while others might question just what is so special about a place not lush like North Oregon, or consistently hot like Southern states, or insist that people say this because of the wide span of outdoor activities, tourist attractions, and killer restaurants, I believe it to be so because of the desert-like makeup with warm hearted and intentional people and purposes. More on that as I meet and come in contact with more of them....

I feel blessed to be living simply here- My room is the perfect size, with just the amount of things I need in it to do well and need to buy little.

Today I checked in with the Joanns location over here to see if I could 'transfer' to work there in late August, (to which the manager gave a thumbs up!), and Heather is taking me out driving to get used to the whereabouts of everything in town. Tomorrow I go to check out the community college and OSU cascades... Keeping busy until the internship officially starts next Monday : )

I'll put pictures up soon-- Blessings, Emily