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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kenya: Half Way Through!

I can't believe we've been in Kenya for almost a week now and we have less than one week left! I've had so many "firsts." We were able to visit the largest slum in Kenya, Kibera. We also attended church this morning in an IDP (internally displaced persons) camp called Jikaze today - what a beautiful picture of how heaven will be!! All I'm saying is I need to start taking some dance lessons now in preparation for heaven, because if it's anything like church was today, there will be lots of dancing and praising. Baptists prepare yourself. I've also carried lots of things on my head, in African fashion. I can't wait to upload pictures and go in detail about what we've done. Please continue praying for our team (and the team in Malaysia). Pray that God's name would be lifted high in our last week and that we would have strength and make the most of our short time here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

First Post from Kenya!!

Hello all! I have limited internet access, but just wanted to give an update. My team arrived safely in Kenya this morning, with all our luggage (PTL). We're all really tired from traveling, so prayers for strength and health would definitely be appreciated. We got to go to a giraffe park and feed real giraffes, which was so fun! I'm looking forward to how God is going to work. Please continue lifting my team and I up in prayer.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

TCP Update: Coming to an End

This week is our last "normal" week at The City Project. All the things we've been doing (seminary class, Summit internship, community ministry internship, various seminars) essentially end come 6:00 p.m. today.

Next week, we'll participate in ServeRDU, a week where people from the Summit come together to partner with organizations in the area and to serve the Raleigh-Durham area. Then, after ServeRDU, we leave for Kenya! I can't believe this portion of TCP is coming to a close. It's got me wondering what I actually learned. At first, it was hard for me to answer this question, but I think that's just because I've learned so much about so many different things:
  • More than anything, I've gained a hunger to grow in knowledge and wisdom in the Lord. So many of my friends on CP and the leaders are so wise and insightful, which has propelled me towards truth. 
  • I've realized how often (like, um, every single day) I need to re-teach the Gospel to myself. Being around people all the time, whether at CP events or at home, is trying for me and I found myself getting short or sarcastic a lot of the time which were just behavioral reminders that I my heart needs to be reminded of the grace and mercy poured out on my behalf, so that I can pour out that same grace on others. 
  • Before TCP, I knew I was introverted. Being a part of TCP definitely confirmed that. The first week after we got back from New York I was seriously crazy because I had been around people non-stop. At first I felt guilty taking time to be by myself, but it didn't take me long to figure out that in order to be sane, I needed to spend time journaling or reading or just sitting in a quiet room.
  • I feel even more in love with the people at the Summit. Before this summer, everyone at the Summit (for the most part. hah.) seemed super genuine and hospitable and caring. But at the beginning of the summer, knowing I was going to be working with a lot of the staff, I was a little apprehensive as to whether I would use those same adjectives by the end of TCP. I would definitely maintain those descriptions, and even heap more praises onto the initial ones. My fellow City Projecters and I have been shown so much hospitality in the past few weeks. I've gotten coffee and had dinner with people I never thought would care to have more than a 5 minute conversation with me because they had more important, super-Christian things to be doing. More than them being nice or gracious, these people have shown me what missional, Gospel-centered living truly looks like, and I think ultimately that's what I've love the most about the people at the Summit. 
  • I've also learned a lot about working with people who have different personalities and how to operate as the Body of Christ. 
I could seriously go on for an annoying amount of time, but these are just some of the highlights. God has worked in so many ways throughout my time in New York and Durham. I'm excited to see what He will do internationally!

Please pray for strength and rest for the upcoming week as we serve the Raleigh-Durham area and as we prepare for our international trips. Pray for health to be restored and maintained. Pray for the people we will interact with internationally, both in Kenya and Southeast Asia, that the Holy Spirit would start working in their hearts. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm Getting Old.

I'm old enough to plan a bridal shower... for someone that I grew up with... who's my age. Crazy. Cool. Weird. Crazy.

My mom and I made all the decor for the shower and went for a whimsical feel. We broke out the Cricut and started cutting.
We cut out these scolloped circles (about 1.5 inches in diameter) for cake toppers. We used 3 different patterned papers, but made sure to keep two of the patterns relatively simple. 
We cut out 1 inch "D's" and, using a thin brush, lightly glued the letters onto the circles. Once they were dry, we glued toothpicks to the base of the circles. They ended up looking like flowers, which was really fun. We definitely used the flower feel to our advantage. 
We also made bigger versions of the cake toppers which displayed the couples initials. Each of the "flowers" was a different size and were staggered in height. For the stems, we used dowel rods cut to different lengths. 
We put the rods into terracotta pots and topped them with brown shredded paper. 
We used the "flower pots" as centerpieces for the main food table as well as in the foyer of our fellowship hall. They were way cheaper than flowers and so much cuter and more whimsical! 
We were going to buy corsages for the bride & groom but then decided to make paper flower corsages to keep the theme consistent. They ended up turning out really well!
In order to put the flowers on, we glued a circa 1987 pin to the back of the paper. For some odd reason, my mom had THREE "Jesus is the reason for the season" pins. Luckily, we put two of them to good use. Hopefully I can find another use, or a good trashcan, for the other one.
We also made this pennant out of the same paper we used for the other projects. 
We made a triangular template for the pennants, making sure that the top of the template had inverted corners so that when it was folded, the corners wouldn't poke out the sides of the triangle.
We strung the triangles together with ribbon and hung it behind the couple.
It was the focal point of the shower, enforcing the theme right as guests entered. 

Congratulations, Josh & Laura! I hope your story truly ends with "happily ever after"!