Return, resume & rewind

This Monday marks my two week mark of being back in the States from England. The second week of classes is almost over and things seem to flowing fairly well. It didn’t take too long to adjust to riding on the right-side of the road, but acclimating to weather that goes well beyond 70 degrees in temperature it a bit tougher. =]

Aside from environmental adjustments, I’ve been able to settle in to school and such, but specific things from the trip this summer have started to process. I no longer spend the entirety of my day with the same group of girls, sharing in constant community. I can carry on through the whole day without even being held accountable to anyone, if I so choose. While the independent side of my nature thoroughly appreciates this, I keep feeling God tug at me in different ways saying, “Do not stray away and hide. Seek out true community and live in full.”

In sensing a push towards a direction I didn’t quite like or understand very well at the time, frustration and anxiety took over and left me pretty empty. While working out this bit of mess, I finally rummaged through II Timothy, and found this passage:

I have been reminded of your sincere faith…and, I am persuaded, now [faith] lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

II Timothy 1:5-7

*punch in face*

But in all honesty, that’s something I really needed to hear. Consistently seeking out solitude in my frustration is not what is supposed to happen. Hiding behind whatever I’m facing does not help to “fan the flame”… it just heaps sand over the coals.

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And the Farewells begin…

This morning I just finished up working through exit interview material and it’s starting to sink in that I will be back to Stateside a week from today. Leaving my second family here in the girls’ houses isn’t going to be easy and I’m already receiving threats about my passport disappearing. =]

In just a couple weeks I will be returning to Virginia Tech to start my junior year and I can already tell things will not be the same. Yes, I have spent my summer sticking flyers into people’s letter boxes, bag packing at the supermarkets, working in a furniture shop, and cleaning house, but it has been so much more than that.

I have seen broken people restored. These same broken people have now stepped up into leadership and are doing the same things in other people’s lives, including mine. I have been encouraged, convicted, and humbled by these chosen people and wake up some mornings overwhelmed by the privilege I’ve had to live with them.

Now I may not be going back home to live with former alcoholic, gang leaders, or heroine addicts, but I still have a call to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1-3). I am not limited to doing that here in Birmingham, England, but have the responsibility to carry out that command wherever I am.

This summer has been a truly incredible journey, but it won’t end the minute I get on that plane. Your many prayers and words of encouragement have been an amazing source of strength and I thank God so much for that. Hope to see most of you very soon! Cheers!

Prayer/Praise:
– This Sunday we will have a baptism for a handful of people here; prayer that they would be protected from second guessing themselves; praise for them making the decision to do it!
– The girls in our house in particular are suffering from quite a few tooth/neck aches, so prayer for healing would be much appreciated
– This summer we have received far more new girls than any other. Typically the rush comes in during the winter, but our house alone has had 4 new women since I’ve been here. Praise God we’re exploding!

Culture Corner:
If you’re looking for bacon as you would say in the US, you’ll find two kinds here in the supermarkets. One looks more like ham, and is simply called “bacon.” Strips of bacon (like you would normally think of) are called “bacon rashers.” Also, I tried bacon flavoured soda the other day… it’s awful, just don’t do it ever.

In the Land of Eire

I apologize ahead of time if this post doesn’t make much sense. Another American intern and myself were able to get away this weekend to visit Betel of Ireland and I am taking advantage of the extra internet time. =]

In any case, it’s been such a blessing to wander around Ireland seeing everything from the Irish Sea, to the numerous cathedrals in Dublin, to simply just spending time with the couple (especially the wife) who run Betel of Ireland. Unlike Britain, it’s very hard for Ireland to keep many of their guys in Betel. Currently, they have eight guys living in the men’s house and no women’s house yet. It can be really frustrating and hard not seeing fruit coming from the ministry quickly, but seeing God work in even this small part of Betel is amazing.

At times it’s very easy to only look at situations from a short term perspective instead of living in faith that our mighty God will provide. And by living in faith I mean approaching every moment with the anticipation that God’s going to blow your mind with something.

Prayer:
– As mentioned, prayer for perseverance for the couple leading Betel in Ireland
– Continued patience with one another in our houses back in England
– Continued joy as I (and the other American intern here) finish up our last couple weeks… bittersweet they may be

Culture Corner:
In Ireland, a game called “Gaelic Football” is played within the country (Australia is the only other country that plays a game similar to it, but their rules vary a bit more). The ball is much like a football (or soccerball for the Americans out there) and it can be dribbled, kicked, or passed; a VERY fast paced game. Think American football, meets soccer, meets volleyball, meets… well just Youtube it.

Moved in!

All Oldbury girls have moved into their new homes! Thank you so much for your prayers. We definitely had a smooth move and a really good transition into our lovely new abode. Prior to the move, the girl’s houses were a good 20minutes away from each other, which meant fellowship and community time for the girls was kind of difficult. But now, we barely have to step out the door to see our neighboring sisters.

When I first arrived, living in community here was described to me as a “pressure cooker of sanctification.” Hits the nail right on the head.

Everyday consists of eating, working, and everything else together. We have the opportunity to have incredible conversations about life, struggles, joys, and pains. It is such a vulnerable place for God to shape and mold us, that I can’t thank Him enough that I can first hand witness his work. Living at a comfortable temperature in life is an easy place to fall into, but room temperature doesn’t exactly cook food to a consumable state. I would really challenge you (and I’m speaking to the choir here) that if you live in room temperature pot, step into the pressure cooker and see how God can heat up your life.

Prayers & Praises:
– Move went well!
– Strength for our new girl as she gets ready to start working jobs this week and go to church for the first time

Culture Corner:
– Baked beans on toast is a common breakfast here. Tried it for the first time this morning and it was actually quite tasty.

Fish & Chips

It’s hard to even decide where to begin to describe what’s been going on in Birmingham the past couple weeks. The days are incredibly quick, full, and at times entirely exhausting. People coming and going, praises being sung and spiritual battles raging, but in the midst of it all, God has dominion, power, and everything in His hands. What a wonderful promise He has given to us, yet so hard to remember.

Don’t have much time to write, but if you could keep us in your prayers this week (especially with our move), it would be really appreciated!

Praises!
– Opportunity to meet with all the Betel centers this past weekend for a worship/conference
– Our newest new girl is doing really well

Prayer:
– We are moving to a new house down the road this week (Tuesday… as of now); chaos (very much an understatement  ) would be minimal
– Hearts would be open to change and healing would continue to take place
– Finances are really under pressure at the moment especially rent payments; prayer that God would provide just enough for us

Culture Corner:
Different cuts of potatoes have very specific names. For instance:
– Crisps: basically potato chips
– Chips: French fries
– Wedges: thicker fries in a half moon shape

And one of the most artery clogging delicacy I tried while trying fish and chips for the first time was a “chip buttie” (slice of white bread, butter, chips, and lots of vinegar and salt). The English love it, and you don’t argue with an Englishman.

Want what you want or want what you need?

Praise be to God for all your letters, prayers, emails, and encouragements all the way around! It has truly been an answer to prayer for me this week. Now that I’m adjusting to the schedule and things, God is working in me in new ways.

I typically am not a person to share with God and other people what I’m going through. By doing so, I build up pride in thinking I can deal with struggles on my own… no problem right? Wrong.

In a sermon one of the speakers did last Sunday was on Acts 3. He touched on things in our lives that we want. Simple concept: we want the things we want, which normally conform to our human nature. However, very few times do we want the things we need.

For me, this consisted of wanting comfort, but by my own efforts and means rather than seeking out the instruction of God and resting in His presence. Thankfully, He has used this weakness in me to push me closer to Him and acknowledge the fact that He desires me to come to Him and allow others to pray for me.

With that being said, here are a few praises and requests He’s brought to me:
Praises!
– one of our new ladies is doing fantastic! Her love for Jesus is growing daily, and she has come out during small group bible study to share this. It is so encouraging to see her mature.
– Continual flow of food donations (all of Betel relies on the grocery stores in the area for our food; such a blessing!)

Prayer Requests:
-Our other new girl is really struggle with being in Betel and is still resisting God. She is open, but doesn’t quite seek change, and would really like to leave. She is so full of life and has so much potential, but just pray God would open her heart to him.
-Details for our new property in Coventry need to be figured out; prayer for those in charge that things would flow smoothly
– For the house leaders; it’s a stressing job running a whole house of people and daily they need a lot of patience and strength

Culture Corner:
There is, in fact, evidence of modern-day Hobbits living in Birmingham. This has been made clear to me by the copious amounts of door knobs in the middle of doors (granted the doors are not round, but it must be an evolutionary effect of Hobbit homes).

A New Kind of Small Group

With officially one week into the trip, I still feel as though I just got here but also as if I have lived here forever. Hopping in the car as a passenger on the left hand side is no longer foreign, and I have quickly adjusted to drinking tea at least 3 times a day (no complaints there).

There is no doubt that God is at work here. In the short time I have been here I have heard stories of both men and women close to death who have been awakened by the Holy Spirit.

This past week (and for the rest of the time I’m here), I had the opportunity to attend one of the small groups that meet on Tuesday evenings. For those of you who have attended small groups, they were probably comprised of mainly other Christians. Here, I am in a group of several men and women who have either just accepted Christ as Saviour or are not saved yet. This past week we studied Jesus birth and specific Mary and Joseph’s faith. The discussion revolved mainly around how we would be willing to risk as much as Mary and Joseph in our own lives as a demonstration of trusting God in our own lives. Because the men and women who come into Betel are either coming off alcohol, drugs, etc., these were some of the initial things brought up about what they had to give to God to trust in Him.

However, these were not the only things. Many of their family and friends despised and rejected them when they turned to Jesus and wanted to dedicate their lives to Him. Much like Mary and Joseph, they risked their relationships with people in order to devote their lives to God. Luke 9:23-26 sums this up well:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Consider this yourselves. What things are holding you back from complete trust and faithfulness to God?

Prayer Requests:
– Continued strength in going about jobs day to day
– [praise] New girls in our house are adjusting well!

Culture Corner:
I have had my first lesson this week in learning Welsh! First lesson: Head, shoulders, knees, and toes song.

Phonetically:
– Head: Pen
– Shoulders: Es-cree-thigh
– Knees: co-zi-ha
– Toes: tride
– Eyes: Es-tee-ide
– Ears: Cles-tee-ide
– Nose: Troid
– Mouth: Keg

Cheerio to the States!


This time last week I was scurrying about the house trying to make sure I had everything packed (unfortunately I didn’t, but my mother graciously mailed these forgotten items to me… love you mom!) for orientation before flying out to England. Now, I’m done with orientation and am getting ready to fly out tonight from Philadelphia where I will be meeting another WEC team in London and catching a ride to Birmingham.


(Afternoon trip to Philly with the two other girls in orientation with me; they are not going to England)

I arrived at WEC’s United States sending base in Fort Washington, PA last Tuesday evening. The pictures give a much more accurate depiction of how beautiful it is here (and yes it is a legitimate castle…used to be a vacation home, then attempted military school, and finally WEC purchased it), so I will simply let them speak however many thousand words they will speak.

To give a quick rundown of orientation, we have had sessions full of things like culture shock (as well as accepting different cultures), church planting, learning how to ask for kimchi in Korean, what God says about missions, as well as how we are to respond to His call to reach the world with the message of His love. As a body of believers, we the church have the privilege as well as the responsibility to share the wondrous news of salvation and God’s end goal for man (to glorify Him forever) to every people group in the world:

And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”

Revelation 5:9

Prayer Requests
– Safe travels today (for both myself and the other WEC team I will be meeting in London)
– God would continue to prepare my heart
– Continued prayer for the women in Betel (I will definitely try to provide more specific requests as learn more over the next several weeks)

Thank you once again for your prayers! They are truly coveted and again PLEASE let me know of any exciting things God’s doing in your life or how I can be praying for you. =]

In His service,

Karli

Pink Pancakes & Packing

So as my last breakfast at home this summer, I decided to make one of my sisters favorites: pink pancakes. Nothing real special about them other than the fact that they got a bit of red food coloring in them, but evidentially it makes pancakes taste better (all I cared about was making them into the shape of Mickey Mouse).

In any case, the past week or so being home has been so quick! About eight hours from now, I’ll be in Fort Washington, PA for a week-long orientation for the missions trip. I will then fly out June 9th from Philadelphia. It’s been a great five months or so getting prepared and it’s finally here (whether I’m completely packed or not).

As I’ve mentioned to many of you, contact during the summer will be mostly be by email, Skype, and snail mail. All contact information is under the “Where to Find Me” tab at the top of this page. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or think that I won’t have enough time to talk to you. I will only have internet access about once a week on Sundays (beware, I am five hours ahead EST for those of you who want to Skype), but I am so grateful to hear from any of you reading this and dearly covet your prayers. Also, please let me know of any ways I can be praying for YOU (and yes, YOU means YOU who are reading this very page).

Thank you again for all your support in prayers, finances, and everything else! Hope to hear from you soon. =]

In His service,

Karli

Preparation


These past few weeks have been nothing shy of overwhelming. Between study for tests, working on circuit projects, co-leading a small group, building relationships with friends, and spending time talking to God consume most of my time (notice sleep is not mentioned =] ).

In any case, none of this is to complain about my current circumstance, but more so to rejoice! This semester I have seen God in ways He has never revealed himself to me before. It’s like discovering a new best friend who’s awesomeness just keeps getting better, for lack of better terms.

With that being said, I know this is all in preparation for the journey He’ll be going on with me this summer as I trek to Birmingham. Reality still hasn’t sunk in that I’m going, but as I progress further into the material WEC has sent me, I see that it won’t be an easy trip. I will be spending the whole summer with women who are recovering drug and alcohol addicts. Even as I type that it makes me think of how I can possibly serve these women as Christ would have. Never having spent an extended period of time with people struggling in this area, I feel almost unprepared to minister to them. However, the fact that I feel unprepared makes me think that I am even more pliable for God to work with. Paul points this out in Romans 12:3 pretty darn well:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Knowing that God has distributed faith to me is such a reassuring knowledge that I want to take with me as I prepare for my trip as well as for everything else I do in life.

As I end, I would like to share with you some areas in which would awesome if you could pray for me:
– (as stated above) Humility in service yet confidence that God can use me, both here on campus still and as I travel to Birmingham
– preparation of the hearts of the women I will be serving as well as the missionary leaders already there
– finances; the total support I will need for this trip comes to $2700, which is quite awesome, praise God. If you are interested in supporting me financially, please don’t feel obligated, but if you feel God calling you to, give me a call or email and I can give you specific details.

Again, if you want to hear more details about the trip in general, I would LOVE to hear from you. It’s so encouraging to share with anyone the things that God’s doing in my life and I always love to hear how God’s working in other people’s lives as well.