Sunday, December 28, 2008

tis the season

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all!

I've been back in the hoosier state for a week and a half now & what a crazy break it has been. My flight time changed, thankfully I checked the night before, I got kidnapped early from my visit with my friend in Chicago because of the weather coming in. We got home in the middle of the ice storm and were home for about 3 hours when the electricity went out & was then out for around 32 hours. It was quite the adventure with the Perkins family & the town looked like a few tornados had swept through with all the branches down & wires as well.

After all that excitement there was a bit more with a friend telling her son & his friends that I had just been let out of prison after murdering a man so that they would behave in the movie theater & the dentist telling me I might need to have a biopsy on a bump on my cheek I've had for 3.5 years. All is well though & Christmas was good. It's been to be able to get some things done as well as relax and watch movies and such.

I'll be back in MN in less than a week and off to Asia in less than 2 weeks!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Birthday MOM!

Today is my mom's birthday so I thought I'd put it in the title 'cause she's great & it's her birthday!

We're back in Colorado for a 3rd time & it's a glorious place to be. This morning we woke up to the ground being slightly snow covered and the air a tad bit more brisk than it has been. It's nice because we're not going to experience much winter since we'll be in SE Asia for most of it. Plus my mom just recently sent me a box with a few warmer clothing articles which makes the colder weather more enjoyable. I know we're supposed to be living this simple life, but I'm still an over packer most days & I refilled the box that mom had sent stuff in and still had stuff to go in, but there wasn't enough room. The fact that I was willing to send so much back was pretty big for me.

We have continued to be blessed with great host homes & travels. Not only have I been reunited with family in CO now, but also with friends in KS, we had a friend visit all of us in NE, we're currently in Evergreen, CO where my friend Philip is the pastor & his wife, Liz, is a good friend too. Then to top it all off, tomorrow we head to Roy, UT where I will get to visit & stay with some more family that I haven't seen in many years.

While on the road it's been apparent to me how important loving on everybody is no matter what. Not just everybody, but how blessed I have been in my life to be loved on, despite all my downfalls, by friends & family. I always knew that my friends & family were important, but I all too often have put my friends before family. This is a struggle because they're all wonderful people whom I love dearly, but how do you put one before the other? We're all brothers & sisters in Christ & God is working in, through, & around us all in so many different ways that it's good to learn from another & share God's work.

I guess I just want everybody to know how blessed we all are. Recently I've seen it through friends & family & there are many other ways God works through our daily lives. Some times we think God needs to show us things in big ways, but we look to hard or expect something bigger since it is from God, but really God is always in the simple things in our lives too. It's a good reminder.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

mr. son

Hiya brothers & sisters! It's Julia live from the Luther House at the University of New Mexico. Life is grand on the road. We've had some incredible God filled adventures since day 1. I'm always in awe of the ways that God's love is shown to us. Some of the ways are through our hosts and safety on the road, but also from the YE family & family back home.

Lately I've been able to be in contact with some friends from other countries that I've met in different travels and ministries. It's been such a blessing to talk with them via skype (an online conversation enabler) and be able to share all the glorious ways God is working in life. I know that God is working and stretching me, teaching me in ways that I don't fully understand, but hopefully will some day.

About two weeks ago now we were blessed to experience the Mystery Bus Tour in Garden City, Kansas. It was a fun crazy night filled with all sorts of activities touring from site to site by each clue we were given. My favorite part of the whole night was the bonfire at the end before heading back to the church. The bonfire was great because it was warming up the cold early morning air, but also because we got to see the start of the sun rise. I don't know the last time I was awake before this to see the sun rise.

I've seen the sun set many times because I'm normally awake for this. I don't always stop to watch it, but it happens quite quickly once it starts to set. The smoothness of the sun rising reminds me of Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God!" Even though God's blessings have been abundant I don't often stop to breath deep and take in those blessings fully. It's something I'm working on and I'm sure God is working with me.

This morning I got up and watched the sun rise with Sarah. She loves to do this and does so in every state we visit. At first I thought she was crazy for getting up that early when she didn't have to, but when I got a taste of the sun rise that morning in Kansas I couldn't resist watching it this morning in the brisk morning air. God's continuous work to make us know his love and want to follow his ways for us is a great ride and hope to continue learning to be still and know God.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I have been on the go. I have attempted to blog at least 3x on the YE website, but the system is not mac friendly so it's never worked all the way. So now I take the time to try 7 catch up a bit on the many ways God reminds me to count my blessings and see his love everywhere we go.

Niobrara, NE: Kristine & I stayed in a B&B with a lovely family. We had our day off here and at the end of the day was the home coming coronation. I wasn't going to go, but decided to since everybody else was going. In the end I was very glad I went because our host brother was crowned king. The best part of the evening was when he asked his mom if he could cut his crown into 3 pieces. At first I thought it was because he didn't like it, but then he explained that he wanted to share the crown with his 2 fellow class mates that were also on homecoming court. What an awesome humbling act. If we all would share just a little more of ourselves to our neighbors around the world, we'd live with a little more feeling of being loved and accepted.

Albion, NE: We loved this place so much that we went back a few days later! Pastor Mike and Alison were great to meet and a blessing to me because we know some mutual people. Mike just graduated in May from Trinity Seminary which is right across the street from Capital. God used these people to remind me of all the wonderful people in my life that have been such great examples of living a Christian life style and being like Jesus.

Kansas: The whole state was great. We started in Hays, then onto Garden City (Mystery Bus Tour), Great Bend, Salina, and Dodge City. Wonderful hospitality. The Mystery Bus Tour was an all night lock-out that has been happening for 16 years. We traveled from place to place all night long and were given clues using Bible verses of where we might be going next. It was a fun night to be in community. We played hide & go seek in the dark at a park, then attempted ultimate frisbee on a football field in the wind, and went to the YMCA to play games, rollar skating, bowling, worship at 3am on the fair grounds, and ended the night with a big bonfire and tired game of Romans & Christians. The bonfire was the best part not only because it was cold, but because we got to see the start of the sun rise.

We then traveled to CO where I got to see my Aunt Gay & family. It's always good to see family especially after being on the road for awhile. It had been just over 3 years since I had seen Aunt Gay, Uncle Greg, my cousin Karen & her son Michia, but it had been over 8 years since I had seen my cousin Michael. I had never met his wife, Amanda, so it was a blessing to get to see him and meet her. I wish we could've stayed in the Denver area longer to visit, but such is life. While we were in CO we did a few touristy things & went to Garden of the Gods, drove to Cripple Creek, & stopped at 7 Falls. Yes, we climbed the 224 (or however many) steps to the top. It was a workout, but my teammate Kristine was behind me nearly the whole way encouraging me and making sure I wasn't about to faint.

We're now in NM ( the land of enchantment) which has been a fun adventure because none of us have ever been here before. We got to stop in Santa Fe the other day & are spending the week in the Albuquerque area. One of my favorite things about team is that we have been to so many fun towns & congregations that have been a blessing to us in our travels that most of us would never get a chance to go to otherwise. Life is good & busy & God is continuing to stretch me in all sorts of ways that I don't understand yet & maybe never will.

One last thing, get up & actually watch the sun rise one morning soon, it's majestic.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Personally, I like swinging

Life on the road has been a lot of fun. We've been blessed with great host homes, as always, and wonderful worship experiences. So far we've traveled to Miller, Hartford, and Chamberlain South Dakota. Today we head to Faulkton and tomorrow onto Pierre for a few days. Each year YE sends somebody known as "on the road support staff" with the teams usually within the first week or so of life on the road so that we are better acclimated and our program is adjusted to work out the kinks. Our friend Danielle has been with us this week and has been a blessing. Danielle was on Kindred to South America last year and so she has experienced life on the road and God has really given her a gift in the ability to support and encourage and a great listening ear (or two). Sadly, Danielle heads back home today so we'll be praying for her as she is waiting to hear back about a job and continuing on with what God has planned for her.

The other day while waiting for team devotions to start I found the swing set. We all have things that we just simply enjoy in life and one of those things for me is swinging. It seems like such a simple thing, but that's what makes it so great. I don't normally have to go to great lengths to find a swing of some sort. I hopped up on the swing, it was a little tall for my short legs, and began the kickoff. As always it started a little slow and gradually started going higher and faster as the push and pull of my legs and the chains worked together. I only took Physics in high school so that I could go to Disney World so I really don't understand the logistics of it nor do I try. I enjoy the wind rushing around me and knowing that I'm powering the swing.

I soon realized that I wasn't powering the swing by myself. God's hand was guiding me and encouraging me through the wind and the sunshine and cool fall morning atmosphere. It was fairly quiet where I was as well so that helped me to focus more on what was around. As I kept swinging I realized that the back and forth motion can be slightly nauseating. I felt like this was like our daily walks with God. Ahead of you there is a goal and behind you is what you have learned from, whether good or bad, to keep you going forward. You keep going forward, but to go forward you must go backward as well. Why in life to we always retreat? The nauseating part comes in when you take your eyes off the goal, the goal being God. When you lean back in the swing and stare at the sky or the trees rushing by. Our lives are so busy with outside sources, but the God is always there.

I don't know if it's human nature to retreat, but it's easy to do. In the book of Hebrews it says, "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works" (10:24 NLT). So let us do just that. Encourage each other in every day life and motivate one another to step outside of our comfort boxes. God will be there even if our eyes our in the clouds.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Get your New Dawn


The YE theme verse for the year is just that! It comes from Ephesians 4:4-6.

Team life has been a great adventure as always. We're in our last week of training at Luther Point in WI. The International Teams have a separate training week to learn about cross cultural living and such, so the National Teams are still at Luther Dell. It's sad to not be with everybody, but it's also a good time to really focus on what God's called us to as well as learn to only be around a few people. On Saturday we all head out on the road and it will only be us & our teammates.

My teammates are wonderful people. We all come from different religious backgrounds which is fascinating to me because I know we can learn so much from each other. We've all had lots of different experiences in ministry as well so that adds to the team dynamics. We're still praying for another guy so if yall know anybody 21+ wanting to serve the Lord send them my way. We're doing great as the 5 of us though so no worries there.

We had our rally day booking this past weekend and had a really relaxed setting which was a total blessing for our first performance. We got to work with 2 separate churches that use the same building. One was a LCMC (Luther Congregation in Mission for Christ) and the other was a Filipino American Church. We get to work with these churches a couple more times throughout the year which is very nice.

We've had some silly times of course learning music and getting to know each other. The photo day was our first funny time and sharing our call stories/life stories. It's also great that our one guy, Jon, is 6'7", just over 2 meters, & all of us girls are 5'4" & under. We all mesh well together & just enjoy getting to continue learning about God working in and around each one of us. Tonight we have our first program so that'll be fun, it's just for YE people so that's nice too.

I feel as if this is a very scattered post, but none the less GOD IS GOOD!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming

The travels keep going for me as always.

Mosaic team life ended a week ago and what a great crazy wonderful year it was. I made the trip home with my Dad on Sunday & was in the good ol' Hoosier state for a grand total of 5 nights. It was nice to be home for a while & catch up with friends & family as well as on rest.

Now I'm in NC for one of my best friend's weddings & getting to see a bunch of wonderful college friends. It's another whirlwind trip, but a lot of fun too.

Sunday I head back to MN for round #2 with YE. A good friend of mine jokingly said "Surely this past year wasn't what God had planned SO let's try it again!" He's also doing a 2nd year. We are all, my new teammates and others, very excited for what God has in store for us. It's going to be a great year, I know it is.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Best Day Ever!

Wouldn't it be great if we went through life and thought every day was the best day ever?

This became our team motto last month as we were traveling and continuously being blessed by our host homes and contacts and others we've met in ministry. It could be something like a cup cake that made us feel like it was the best day ever or trampoline or the kids singing with all their hearts.

Life on the road has been a transition from community based ministry, but a great adventure as always.

We've spent the last week at Luther Dell Bible Camp where YE has part of our Fall training & this year had our VBS training. It's always fun to be here, but the people make it what it is. The Luther Dell staff are so welcoming and have huge servant hearts. We got to hang with a small group of campers early in the week that were a lot of fun and celebrate the 4th of July. We watched a parade and ate great food, went canoeing, larping, some went swimming, watch fireworks out on the lake, and finished the night with a small group of friends watching the fireflies out in the swampy area.

We've got a month left in this team year and continue to be amazed by God's grace and love for all.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Life @ 24

"Happy Birthday! Welcome to your mid-twenties!" was my first greeting from my best friend Alissa.

It's hard to believe the path my life has taken and all the ways God has blessed me. I may be 24, but I don't feel any older and all too often still feel like I'm much younger minus the drama that all happened then. Aging is a beautiful thing in my book and it's something I must remember as my life continues and I'm not achieving things that I might've thought would have happened in my life by now had I been asked ten years ago.

I recently was traveling from Montana (where my team currently is) to Indiana for my life long best friend's wedding. I was traveling more or less all day. I had packed a book that I bought at the beginning of the team year and had never found the time to read so I decided this would be a perfect opportunity. The book was "Sex God" by Rob Bell and it's a fast read, but lots to think about and consider.

In the book Bell talks about being worthy of loving yourself before being able to love others or accept their love. I find this to be true. If you do not love yourself then how are we to ever believe that somebody else would love us or being able to give our love to others? He also compares God's love to those in the world who know heart break. When your world changes because of some love and your heart is never the same, the pain, the yearning for understanding, the want to love you more, that's like God's love. It's beyond comprehension, but what I do get from it is like nothing else.

It is because of this love that I continue to seek it out and learn about and see where it leads me.

Recently a friend from college died in a plane crash. The same morning that I was traveling by plane back to Montana after a beautiful wedding. The same morning that my brother was flying to Nevada for a job interview. The same time that hundreds of thousands of others were getting on planes never thinking their lives on earth were about to be over. I pray that all passengers were at peace in the end. This is still a struggle though remembering all the good times with her in college, at her house, in Germany. She was a vibrant young woman who was going to spread love and laughter to everybody she met. She had a hug for everyone and their friends. She was Jesus with skin on for me and several others.

I may be 24 & not where I thought I'd be if you'd asked me at age 14, but I'm trying to gracefully grow and age as God means for me. I have loved and I have felt heart ache and thinking that is anything like God's love seems foolish to some degree, but really a way to know God better & be Jesus with skin on. My friend had bad days just like anybody else, but always had a hug for everybody along the way. If we can all age by showing love like this then we're one step closer to heaven.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Living in a Van

Hello friends of Jesus!

God just continues pooring out the blessings this year on team. We left Racine just over a week ago and are now on a weekend break before embarking on a summer filled with Vacation bible School funness all over the country.

Leaving Racine doesn't quite seem real as every other time we've had a break we've eventually returned. The people of Racine have sincerely made a difference in the lives of my teammates & I and will forever have a special place in our lives. We learned a little more about serving and loving as God calls us to and will continue to do so.

After leaving Racine we traveled to Hudson, WI for the night with the Captive Free West Coast team. We were hosted here for the night & woken in the morning by some girls that thought they knew who was sleeping in the building. They thought we were the youth director and some other youth so they came in & yelled " WAKE UP!" & then realized they didn't know who we were so they ran out. The youth director came a little while later and we had a good laugh about it.

The rest of the weekend we stayed with people from the office and were able to attend worship with them. We all went to The Well in Whitebear Lake where I got to see several YE alumni that I hadn't seen in a long time as well as meet a former teamer that was on team with a good friend of mine from CAP. On that Sunday we got to help set up & attend YE's annual SpringFest where all the International Teams performed and talked about their ministries over seas. It was incredible to hear & see how God has blessed those teams.

Monday we headed to Luther Dell Camp in Remer, MN for a week of VBS training. We got to see all of the YE teams and get to know some of them a little better since we only spent a week with them in August. During the week we prepared for the summer and put together a portion of music. It was great to worship with everybody again and know that we are able to lead at least a half hour's worth of worship. We head to Mankato, MN this next week and then to SD for a few days before heading to MT for a few weeks.

My life long best friend's wedding is 2 weeks away and I'm still trying to figure out how to get from Baker, MT to Billings, MT so that I can fly home for this. If yall have any ideas please let me know! God is GOOD! I know my thoughts are scattered, but I wanted to update something.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Let My Lifesong Sing to You

Lifesong is a pretty popular song by Casting Crowns. Some people may think it's overdone or over played, but it has such powerful words.

As I recently wrote 2008 has not started off on the right path. Maybe it has been the right path, but it has been a very rough one to follow. It doesn't matter how many great people are in my life helping to support me there is always one person or thing that just continues to try & knock me down. I just have to remember to have a servant heart as best as I know how.

My team only has 5.5 weeks left in Racine & then we will be a traveling VBS team for the summer. This was something that was presented to us so we prayed about it & discussed it & then decided that God was putting a great offer in front of us that we shouldn't turn down. It is going to be sad to leave Racine, but it would still be sad if we were leaving in August. This summer we will be joining with Kristen from the OSU Mosaic team & the 3 of us (yes there are 3 again, my long time friend Amber Roeben has joined us) & traveling as far west as Montana and as far East as Indiana (yay hoosierland). We will obviously be spending time in between these states.I'm very anxious to meet new brothers & sisters in Christ & have God's beauty of the world revealed to me even if it's countryside that I've seen many times. Just like the lyrics to Lifesong, it all has a different meaning each time it is heard or seen.

Another fun fact of my life is that I am on my 5th cell phone of the year. I had a small case of toiletphone. Yep, that's right, my phone fell in the toilet. I lost all my numbers so it's been a journey & I actually liked not having a phone for a few days. Amidst that chaos I also received & signed a letter of call to do a second year with Youth Encounter. Starting in August of 2008 I will be serving on YE's international team called New Dawn. My team will be state side for the Fall & up through Christmas & then heading to Asia in January 2009 for around 5 months. More specifically my team will be traveling to Hong Kong, Singapore, & Malaysia. I never thought I'd go to that part of the world so I'm very excited to see what God has to unveil before me this time around. I've already been chatting with one of my future teammates & am very excited to continue growing in friendship with her & finding out more about our team together.

ALSO I got accepted to Luther Seminary & plan on attended classes there starting in the Fall of 2009 for a Master of Arts degree focusing in Diaconal Ministry & most likely working with the CYF (I think that's the abbreviation, it's the youth ministry program) program as well. It's very bizarre having a bit of an idea what the next 3 years are to bring even though I know at the same time I have no idea.

Through this all, even though some days just simply suck & others are so incredible they rock my face right off, I just hope that my lifesong keeps singing for God. Recently I was able to go back to CAP for a good friend's wedding & got to hang out with some great friends the entire weekend. I miss those people so much, but know that God has incredible plans for each of us & has blessed me deeply by allowing them to be a part of my life. Through this all though I have found scripture from Ecclesiastes 11 & 12 that seems to be a good reminder. "Young people, it's wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless (Ecc 11:9-10)." This seems a bit harsh, but true. What is the point to living if only for ourselves? Chapter 12 then starts, "Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, "Life is not pleasant anymore." (Ecc 12:1)." Life hasn't always been pleasant & my teammates & I have been ready for 2008 to be over since early February, but as long as we continue to know that God has a plan through it all & we're doing our best then that's all we can do.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

mayhem mania 2008

Since the beginning of 2008 my life has been one adventure after the next. I have moved to a host home (GREAT family), the team cell was lost, my wallet got stolen, we got in a car "accident," I'm on my 3rd new cell phone of the year, my car broke down & still isn't fixed 100%. I'm sure there are a few other silly things that I can't think of right now. If this is how the entire 2008 year is going to be I will be very happy to see 2009. Through it all though I know that God is teaching me lessons that I may not see now, but will look back on maybe even in a week or maybe five years and understand.

Our schedule in this new year on team has been very busy. We have continued on with the usual schedule of after school programs & mid-week worship at the three churches, but we have also added a few new fun ministry opportunities. We have taken one youth group to the Chicago quake and returned that Sunday just to put together and prep for our first Prayer & Praise with the high schoolers that we're now having at the end of every month. We're also finally getting a step forward in the lunch programs with the different high schools near the churches. Another mid-week after school/worship program started up too.

Currently I am visiting seminaries & grad schools to try & figure out my future. I'm in MN this weekend & thankfully able to hang out with some great people that I don't get to see all that often. Next weekend I'll be in PA and staying with a good friend and possibly seeing a few others I haven't seen in 2 years. Through all the "mayhem mania" God is still very present and blessing my life daily with people who are encouraging & loving. One big thing in my life right now is that I'm praying about doing a second year of team. I really want the experience of an international team so I am going to apply and see what God has planned for me. Some days life is very uncertain, most days lately, and my teammate and I have found Isaiah 44:21 comforting in knowing we're not forgotten and that all are loved and chosen by God no matter what happens. "People of Israel, you are my servant, so remember all of this. Israel, I created you, and you are my servant, I won't forget you" (CEV).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

COLD feet

seriously, I have cold feet! Not the figurative kind, the literal kind. It is negative degrees out. I'm not sure that I've ever experienced this kind of cold. It is kind of funny because when some people found out I was living in WI this year they said things like "Oh, you'll experience a real winter."

Christmas & winter Spoke Folk were great. It's always good to see the family & spend time with my Spoke Folk family as well. The 20 some hour van ride down to FL seems so long ago. Tour was not the conventional spoke folk tour schedule because of the holiday, but it was still the great God centered community of people. I absolutely love the ministry that Spoke Folk does.

Since being back in WI I have moved in with a host home, had mid-winter training in IN, & been working a lot. Oh yeah, not to mention my purse got dug into today & somebody took money & a wallet. Life is WEIRD! The last 5 months have been one insane transition after the next. 2008 has started out a bit sketchy, but I still look forward to what God has planned for the ministry that surrounds me & involves me.

There's lots coming up & plenty to keep us busy so I will do my best to keep on keepin' on.