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Showing posts from 2009

The journey is yet before me....

I am looking at the middle of a week just prior to Christmas and cannot believe how the time has gone by! We are celebrating two years in Brazil, Indiana this month, and I am just amazed at what God has done. If you had told me back in 2007 that we would be here, I would not have believed it and probably would have laughed. I am truly speechless at times when I look back at what Ryan and I have endured. We are in no way done learning from what happened, we continue to learn from it and walk forward with what God has for us to do now. Nothing good can come from dwelling on the past, our mistakes, who did what to whom, or how we could have done it differently. The reality of what we endured hits me square in the face when I realize things could have been very different today had we not remained faithful to our God, to our marriage and our family, and to the calling upon our lives. It is interesting how a struggle can force you to take a hard look at your options and the scary par…

Barbados behind me--reality before me!

I can't believe it has taken me this long to blog since my return from Barbados. I still feel like I am recovering in some ways, getting back to reality. What an experience it was, and quite honestly a very difficult experience. Every mission trip I have been on has been different, not one experience the same as the other. It is a given going into every mission that your mind set should be to have no expectations, no agenda but know that God is running the show. It isn't my mission, it isn't anyone on the team's mission, it is God's and more often than not He has something different in mind. We were hit right smack between the eyes with a whole lot of unexpected on this trip. We learned very quickly to be flexible and got tired of hearing it even though it needed to be said over and over again. Here's a run down of what we experienced from my thank you letter:
'We went with all these ideas of what to expect and what we would be doing, but we had no i…

The world behind me, the Cross before me

I am ready to go, just a few things to throw in the suitcase in the morning and Barbados here I come! God is so good, and His provisions is amazing. I never cease to be amazed by His abundant provision for me. I am so thankful, so humbled by the outpouring of prayer and financial support that has enabled me to go on this mission trip. As I have gotten closer to the trip, watching the weeks pass from the calendar, I am antsy. It is what I'd like to call 'spiritual antsy' cause I have this buzzing inside me, a feeling like I can't sit still and just need to go! God has given me the opportunity to go and serve, share the love of Jesus with the people of Barbados. I am so honored, humbled and inspired to be His servant. For two weeks, I will leave behind me the world as I know it, my comfort zone and open myself up to be used completely and filled to overflowing by God. Matthew 28 is our motto, our reason for being on this earth in these turbulent times. God desi…

Where He leads me I will follow

I have so many thoughts in my head today as I am looking forward to departure to Barbados on Saturday. I have a lot of packing to do, but I am ready and I have everything I need. I was just thinking this morning that the women's study we have been doing is so applicable to this time in my life. We are learning about women Paul commended in the New Testament church. All of these women lived lives of great risk, bold faith and sacrifice for the sake of the cross. It has come full circle for me as I approach this mission trip and reflect upon their example to me. I am going because God called me and made a way, because there is a need and I have chosen to be available to Him for His use, because God is not done with His people...we must go and share the gospel! Matthew 28 is our motto, our life's purpose on this earth to look beyond ourselves and our comfortable lives to be completely used by God for a higher purpose. I don't care what I accumulate in this life in ter…

Today is the day, You have made! I will rejoice and be glad in it!

My new fave song is Lincoln Brewster's Today is the Day on his newest project. I have listened to it on the way home from work every day this week and it is such a great release! The past few weeks have been particularly stressful for me, so it is a welcome stress reliever to turn up the volume in my car and sing with Lincoln. There are so many days I don't even feel like getting out of bed, much less uttering these words. I know I have so much to be thankful for, so why is that? The stresses and worries of this life at times can weigh on me like the weights in the gym. It is interesting to visualize myself, lifting the weights, strengthening my muscles, to the point of shaking fatigue, how much further can I go on....there is only so much more I can handle! What if we approached life this way? A challenge comes your way and immediately we question, "How can this happen? Lord, I cannot handle this right now!!" Somehow I sense Him saying, "Work it out, y…

Waiting

Nobody likes waiting. I have yet to meet anyone who likes to wait for anything. Whether it is at the doctor's office, the pharmacy, the line at the department store, the drive thru, the repair shop---anywhere and everywhere we have an appointment to get something or do something we are required to wait for what seems like an eternity. How many of us feel the same way with regard to waiting for God to provide? Often times in my life, I have found myself trying to understand why God makes me wait when I know, I just know that this has got to be the right path for me. I have done the research, I have got all the answers I believe that I need to make the right, the wise decision and yet, here I am waiting. I am a bit of a perfectionist, like details, love to be organized and have a plan months in advance. Once I have a plan in place, I develop tunnel vision and believe the path is straight ahead, easy to follow, why should there be any diversions. So, when a hiccup occurs in m…

It's not about me, as much as it is my nature to prefer it that way

I have had a couple of weeks of incredible stress at work and just plain exhausted from it all. Thankfully we took a family weekend trip after stressful week 1, and this weekend we are celebrating my son Bailey's birthday! I can't believe he is nine. Where has the time gone? Sometimes the pace of our lives knocks me off my feet long enough to realize maybe I've got too much going on. I struggle with it constantly, and how appropriate that a study my women's group is doing happens to address this issue. I am challenged daily by the pressures of my job, and then keeping up with everything at home, as well as contributing to my church family. I recall my mom warning me at a young age how important it is to prioritize. It would be years later before she could finally admit to me she did too much, that she wished she had said no to a few things and made more time for me and my brother, and even for her grandchildren. This was a powerful moment in my life because my…

Inspired, Empowered, Changed

I titled this post with three dramatic words. This week is the beginning of our busy fall schedule. It is that familiar time of year when our schedules fill up quickly and we soon realize we are running full steam ahead whether we are ready for it or not. I am so thankful that my week began with the start of a new women's study. I have been blessed and privileged to facilitate a women's home Bible study group and this is going into our second year. The response has been so great, and they have been so eager, so committed and so consistent. I am constantly amazed each time we begin a new study how the timing is just right for each one of us, and it is so needed. God must love to hear that! We need Him so desperately, and we need to know Him more. This is the outlook we should have on our lives daily. We are reminded over and over again throughout the Scriptures, in the lives of those who walked with God before us, and in the familiar verses that uplift us in our daily…

I have a purpose..He has the plan

As I drove to work this morning, the sun was rising behind me so I had to squint from the reflection in my side view mirror. I have become more and more aware of just how blessed I am. Funny how life experiences, particularly the difficult ones, can cause this pause within us. I know God does this on purpose, it is part of His plan to mold me, make me who I am meant to be. It doesn't mean I'll like it, and the majority of the time I am probably going to kick and stomp my way through it. I am particularly stubborn and set in my ways, I like to have a plan ahead of me as to how I think my life should go, so what hits me as a surprise or an interruption in my life is actually God at work just as He intended. I have to mentally prepare myself for change, for the flexibility required to navigate through this life without completely breaking down from time to time. I am not as patient as I appear, there is an inner turmoil that goes on in my head that the outside world cannot…

Beautiful Day

It is a beautiful Saturday morning and I am about to go to my mission trip meeting/training. I am looking forward to it, and I have been praying daily that God continues to prepare my heart for this trip. I know He has something precious to teach me, not sure what yet. The past week or so I have been through a miriad of emotions. When I realized I was pregnant, I questioned going on the trip then I began to come up with all these scenarios of how to handle it all and not tell anyone until after the trip. I kept thinking I don't want anyone to worry, to be put in a position to make exceptions for me. As the possibilities whirled in my mind, the weekend arrived and it all changed. Since the miscarriage, I don't think I have gained any new perspective but I continue to return to the theme of joy and thanksgiving. I know it can only come from the Father, because it is not in my human capacity to grasp that right now. This morning I was reminded as I looked at the familiar…

Fog...when will it clear?

I realize that for most people, today will come and go like any ordinary day. For me, it would have been true. But now, in light of what I have experienced recently, I am taking each day more slowly, wondering when the fog will lift. I have to admit I have had some really good moments the past 24 hours. Physically, I am not doing so good since this sinus infection began yesterday. I have been out from work nearly a week now, so it has been odd to be out of touch with what is my usual routine. I am realizing there is a certain comfort that comes with routine, no matter how mundane it may be. It is amazing how one experience can effect your outlook on your life. Perhaps that is why God allows these things to happen.
I had a miscarriage five days ago, and for the first time I can put it into words that are visible and legible on my blog. My body is still taking care of itself, so I am slowly recouperating from the loss. I know it is something I will process for many days beyond …

Loss and despair--what is the difference?

I read in my quiet time this morning as Paul was imprisoned, how he prayed, hoped, pleaded and encouraged the people to stand strong and firm in their faith and to serve God, spreading the Good News with humility rather than pride. He asked them to examine their hearts, their motivation, as to their purpose....there should be no arrogance, no pride, no selfish reason for making their beliefs known to the world. Even in the midst of his imprisonment, he was not thinking at all about himself. I have considered this week where my life should go as a result of what I have experienced. I could allow myself to sink into despair, become overwhelmed with grief and loss and sit in it, wallow for as long as I want. What is the good in that though? So, I am left to ask, "God, what is your purpose for my life as a result of this experience?" "Why did you allow this to happen?" "What should I gain from it?" I am still wondering, and I am certain the answers w…

When I think I'm going under, part the waters, Lord...

I was thinking just now about a song I heard and sang as a girl, an older Christian favorite by Evie. I have heard more recently a remake of it by Selah, an arrangement with the hymn, "I Need Thee Every Hour". So beautiful, such words of depth and longing, that speaks to my heart and soul. I have had a very hard few days recently, experienced a loss I did not expect to face in my life. I know that despite how my heart and mind processes it, God has a purpose for it. I don't know how I would endure this without my faith. It is a peace that passes all understanding, something I cannot put into words. He knows my needs, and He has met me right where I needed Him to. I know this will pass and in the midst of this healing I will find new strength to move forward. God always provides, and when I cannot take another step I know He will be there to carry me. In my weakness, He is strong so knowing that I can take another step forward.

"When I think I'm going un…

Second verse, same as the first....

So here I am, another Monday, returned from a great mini vacay with the fam and no motivation whatsoever. I am tired, would have loved to sleep in and be lazy all day but my expanding mid section is getting in the way. It is bugging me, reminding me it is absolutely time to get real with my health. I have seen my mom and other women go through this as they approached their 40s, so I know the battle I face. I have jumped back on the weight loss wagon today and as unhappy as it makes me to resist all the yummy food I enjoy, I will choose wisely and get this dad gum weight off! It is a cycle I keep going through, and it is ridiculous. I need to change, I know that, it just continues to be harder to stick with as I get older. As I look at the years ahead of me, I want to feel better physically, have clarity mentally, and treat my body as the temple God has created it to be. I will move forward and I will improve myself a little at a time. Nobody said it was ever going to be easy.…

The Battle of the Bulge

I am once again in a very familiar place in my life...a bit heavier than I'd like and than I should be so I am jumping back in to the weight loss mode. Today has not been good since we had a birthday in the office and everyone brought in something yummy to eat and you know you've got to try a little bit of everything....oh, mercy, I have got to show more will power than this. My goals are realistic and within reach so I don't have any grand plan to lose a ton of weight and suddenly become a vegetarian or something. I want to lose 25 pounds, fit back into my favorite jeans and gain my strength and energy back. I am getting in the exercise but now I've got to get my eating habits cleaned up. Why does it get harder as we get older? It is so easy to gain weight, and so much harder to lose it. I hear in the back of my mind and in the forefront of my heart that my body is the temple of the Lord---so I know I should care for it in a way that enables me to be the best I…

How's your heart?

How's your heart? You know, the condition of your inner being? Are you daily absorbing the Word of God, pouring your hurts and joys out to the Father and listening to Him speak to you? Or, have you become numb, uninterested, desensitized? Sin can do that, or what we would label "the current condition of our society". So many of us have excuses, and typically it is our schedules, our commitments to all these things and it is just what we feel we need to be doing whether out of obligation or because "nobody else will do it, so I might as well". This is another one of the lies being fed to us by that stinkin' guy down under. Satan has his ways, I'll give him that but----I will daily refuse to allow him to influence my life. I think most of us in our comfy Christian lives develop this mentality that we must do all these things to be in right standing with society and with God. With society, because we feel the need to keep up with everyone around u…

We are known and we are chosen

Romans 8:29 is a reminder from the writer, Paul, that we are known and chosen by our Maker. We are to be like Him, striving toward a life that is righteous. How do we get there? Well, we will be working toward it all of our lives. We will get there when we stand before Him one day. We will get there when we hear Him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." It is going to be sweet to hear those words, although I don't believe I deserve it. It is a healthy humility that I carry knowing that I can never be as perfect or sinless as Christ was, but I can daily work toward being more like Him, drawing from the strength He gives me to be the best example of Him I can be to the world around me. I was challenged to day in my devotional to examine where my feet are planted. Am I splashing one foot in the pools of the world while attempting to plant the other foot on Christ's solid foundation? It is not possible and it is not what God desires for me. I need to…

We were made to live for so much more....

I love that song by Switchfoot. The words are piercing at times, because I realize I am not always living the righteous life God has intended for me. In my morning devotional today I was reminded of how important it is to daily put off my old self, and live as the new creation God has made me to be. But this is not something we can attain instantly, or over a short period of time. It is something I will strive toward for my entire life. I am not defined by what I've done, who I am, or who I'd like to be one day. I am defined by grace, by the precious gift of eternal life that has been given to me through the Son of God. I am daily in awe of the sacrifice for me, Jesus' life upon the cross for all my sin past, present and future. How could I ever earn that or deserve that? It can't be done. How do I live more perfectly, more righteously? Let go of the things that are not lasting, temporary, of material value only. I don't want to dwell on the things tha…

Life is sweet, and I am so thankful!

The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind, but a whirlwind in which I have found my focus once again. Funny how seeing a portion of your life come full circle can bring a sweet peace to the heart and soul. We have entered this year on new ground, and it has begun by filing for bankruptcy. Our financial history has not been healthy one to this point, so we are turning over a new leaf. We are beginning new, a clean slate of sorts. It comes at a cost though, as we will have to rebuild our finances and our credit over a period of time. We realize what we have done and cannot undo it, but we have learned from it and we are moving forward with confidence. God is our Provider, and we have learned over the past few years that our complete confidence, trust and obedience is due to Him. I am so incredibly thankful for the God we know, love and serve, and everything He has blessed us with. We have loving and supportive families, and we are so blessed to have friends literally all over…

He's never letting go!

Okay, I realize I am the type of person who gets stuck on something and can't let it go! If only I were this passionate about my God. I hope that I am! I realized last night, how much time I am spending watching my favorite shows, reading a great book, listening to good music, filling my schedule with all these events and activities----when I should be spending as much time with the Lord? It is not enough, it never is. Thank goodness He doesn't keep track of that. I would be in serious trouble if He did! "Hmmm, let's see here, Andrea, yeah, you gave me a whopping 20 minutes of your day yesterday...thanks for that." I don't want to hear something like that from Him, and I know I won't but it appears in my imaginative mind as a result of my deeply convicted heart. Looking back at my schedule this last year, I realize I cannot be my best for God with so many distractions in my life. So, I am turning over a new leaf this year. I want to spend more…

Disappointed, but not surprised....God is still God

The last few days are a little blurred, and it is no wonder! So much has happened in the world around me it is enough to make me go out and buy a copy of every major newspaper just to get caught up. Life keeps rolling forward. I don't take bad changes well, but a good change is alright. That can be interpreted only by what I define as good or bad changes, cause we all have our own definition of what we think is a good or bad change right? What is wrong or right--John and Kate plus 8 stars, the Gosselin's divorcing and yet the show is still on the air. Oh, but they are taking a hiatus while they settle in to this newest change in their lives. What a cop out on so many levels. I would think a mature human being who truly cares what is best for their children would see that a crumbling marriage is the best reason to turn the cameras off! How is it benefiting the children now anyway? All it says to me is their focus is on one thing only---the fame and the money. There a…

Giving up or pushing through it..what will it be?

I am a big ball of emotions tonight as I write this. It is not surprising to the world to see another marriage end, especially on national television. Ryan and I watched the famous show about the family with twins and sextuplets tonight announce they are separating due to the problems they have been having for months in their marriage. It is both sad and disappointing to me, but frustrating as well. I had naively hoped they were going to work on it, seek counseling and say they were hopeful. I guess that is not the choice they have made. None of us has the right to judge them, but we all feel for them whether it is genuine concern or all out anger and inapporpriate lashing out. The heart of the matter is the state of their marriage. I listened to comments like "I am hear for my children, and what is best for them is the most important thing to me." What about your marriage? When did that take a backseat and at what point did either one of you think it might be a go…

It's Monday..yet again...

I find it frustrating how the crazy busy cycle of life has become my excuse for not doing better than I am at this moment. I am at that place again with my health, so tired and so fed up with my current state, so I need to whip it into shape and stop making excuses. It is easier, more comfortable for me to make those excuses. I have a a husband, three children, a full time job, and a schedule full of other activities to keep up with during the week. My day starts at 5:15 am and ends at 11:30 pm. By the time I complete my day at work, get in some form of exercise, fix dinner, bath time, bed time, chores that are waiting for me when I get home like ironing/laundry/dirty dishes--take my pick!--and maybe some time to sit and relax, it is gone. I have no time left, and I am spent, done, ready to crash. Some days I feel like I am running on empty, not fumes, EMPTY. I don't like that feeling, but I find I barely have a moment to slow down and process that feeling. How perfect Hi…

Summer's here! Yippee!

School's out, flex schedule starts this week and I am so thankful for the warm weather and sunshine. I can't function when it is dark, cloudy, and rainy for days on end. We've had a lot of rain lately, so the sunshine is such a nice change of pace in our area. As much as I love the start of the summer season, I realize as I get older it seems to go by so much faster. I want to make the most of the time we have here on this earth, so I find that I am taking more moments to savor this life God has given me. Yes, at times I put a little bit too much in my mouth and my waist line shows it---let's just not go down that path in this entry--but I won't waste time beating myself up over it. I am so excited about the time I will have with my family to enjoy playing, traveling and just spending quality time together. We just went to the Indy Zoo last weekend and we had a blast. I love seeing the amazement in my children's eyes as they see all the animals, learn f…

oh, no...it's what time?!

End of the day, get to Zumba, eat some dinner with the fam, then off to Rylee's softball game. It was almost 9:30 by the time we got home, and everyone needed a bath plus Rylee needed her PE uniform washed---oh my word, I need two more hours in my day to get it all done before I crash and sleep! How do I do it? I often wonder, but then I quickly go, "Hmmm, yeah, okay--that's you God!" I love my life, I love my family and I love everything we are doing so it is moments like this that I can take a breath and go, "Aha, yeah, it is okay, God's doing His thing so I can keep moving!" Faith sustains us, His peace and strength encourage us to put one foot in front of the other. I know that if I wasn't talking to Him, digging in the Word everyday and never letting go of that feeling of thanksgiving in my heart then I would crash and burn a whole lot more. I know I am in trouble if in a moment of struggle, I head south for desperate measures...woh! G…

How am I doing?

I think I ask this question daily to myself, and then to God. Perhaps it should be the other way around? God, how am I doing? I mean, really....am I doing something good, something to make you proud? I don't want a day to go by in this life that I don't take time to say thanks: before I roll out of bed, before I step out my door, before I drink my yummy coffee, before I speak, before I start my work, before I put food in my mouth, before I accomplish the very thing I have been working on all day long, before stepping in the door as I arrive at home, before I speak to my husband and my children, before I end my day, before I close my eyes to sleep each night. I don't think I can say thanks enough, so it should pour out of me without ceasing. Everything I am, all I have and all I do is because of what Christ has done for me, because of what God has given me. I have wondered how often the disciples pondered this very question while they were walking with Christ...&quo…

The mission field

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Acts 1:8

We are charged to go and tell the Good News to the world. This is our mission field. Everywhere we are, it is our mission. In everything we do, it is our mission. We have been given the Holy Spirit, direct access to the power of Christ and the Holy Scriptures to give others the precious knowledge we possess. How can we hold it in? How can we, especially in our nation's current state of distress, hold on to anything that is of this world? I have a new appreciation for what we have, what we "own" and how little it matters to my eternity. Honestly, I am thankful to have a roof over my head, indoor plumbing, food on my table, a job, transportation, communication by cell phone/internet, a place to worship/church family, health insurance, and my sweet family. When it all comes down to it, does i…

Part the waters, Lord!

"When I think I'm going under part the waters Lord.
When I feel the waves around me calm the sea.
When I cry for help Oh hear me Lord, and hold out your hand.
Touch my life, still the raging storm in me."

"I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like Thine, can peace afford.
I need Thee, Oh, I need Thee!
Every hour, I need Thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee."

(Arrangement by Selah, Contemporary Christian Music group)

I love this arrangement, and I have had it on my mind for almost a week now. It is a haunting, soothing version recorded by one of my favorite groups. I listen to it when I walk, and it gives me such comfort, strength and deliverance. My day's troubles and stresses melt away as I hear the swelling vocals, instruments carry the song step by step. There are days when just the right song at the right time will overwhelm me, and I find myself on my knees in tears. Sometimes I find in the middle of my walk that I can…

All the way my Savior leads me...

I was singing this song to myself this morning, remembering how beautifully Chris Tomlin sang it at his concert. Such a nice arrangement, and the words just cut me to the core. It hurts to admit I don't like letting go, letting someone else lead me. I like to be in control of my life, but the reality is I am not. He is leading, even when I think I am. Something terrible happens, and boom--there's the jolt of reality. He is in control, not me. I don't like how certain moments of my life have unfolded, I find myself wishing I could go back and do it over again. That is where the human mind can truly drive a person crazy with worry, anxiety, regret. I find that I must make a habit daily of turning my mind and heart completely over to Him. Surrender is not easy, but it is necessary. Surrender is not natural, but it is required of me to be fully committed to the Lord and His will for my life. I read in my devotional this morning about the pursuit toward righteoussne…

Called

What are you called to do with your life? This is a question I have answered so many different ways over the years. From the time I was a child, I wanted to be a wife and a mother more than anything else in the world. Why? Because of my Mom's example. I am blessed to have two incredible Christian parents, and I am especially thankful for a mother who was at home full time with me and my brother. She is an intelligent, gifted woman who did so much more with her life than "wife" and "mother". She was a role model, a counselor, a coach, a friend, and so much more. But her greatest accomplishment was joining with Dad in teaching us to appreciate our church and the mission field, both at home and abroad. My brother and I were participants on several trips, but one particular trip we will always have tucked away in our life experiences, was to Hong Kong. Mom had served in Hong Kong as a journeyman before she and Dad met, so she had a great love and apprecia…

Consistent

It is a word I don't like, and yet it bugs me when others are not. Consistent. I know I need to be more consistent in some areas in my life. I have done better since going back to work full time and teaching a Bible study group. Every morning as I drive to work, I have my daily conversation with God. I don't turn on the radio, or take a drink of my coffee until I have talked with Him. It sets the tone for my day and makes a big difference in how my day goes. If I have it memorized, I recite my weekly Bible verse to Him too. I know, some of you are thinking "weekly?" For those of you who have the ability to do a daily memory verse, I applaud you. I find it challenging enough to focus on learning one a week, thank you! So, consistent. That is what is stuck on my brain today. When I was at home full time, I found it easier to schedule my day, what I needed to accomplish. Now that I have returned to a full time day job on top of that, not so much. I find c…

Knowing versus not knowing?

It is a life long battle. It rages in my mind, day after day, often moment to moment. Some of you can relate to this struggle. I know I am a bit of a control freak, okay, I just am. I like knowing what is going on for the days and months ahead well in advance. I like a schedule, knowing what to expect, what I would like to accomplish and all will be right with the world when it goes according to plan. I embrace organization, and when the things on my list are accomplished I feel a sense of peace and I have the ability to relax more. When something goes wrong, something is not right, something is out of whack or out of order....oh my goodness. I can be a bit dramatic, and it can get a little overwhelming for me. I have been told I handle stress well, I don't show anxiety, fear, or worry. Well, I've got news for you--I hide it well. Those closest to me know just how well I handle stress. It makes me angry, I tend to vent to whomever is in my path at the moment, and i…

Mission trip

Mission trip. The words don't do justice to the purpose, do they? What it is is so much deeper, fuller, richer than the two words actually sound like. Those two words make it sound so simple, but in reality it is an incredible journey that will impact a human life on so many levels. I have had the wonderful opportunity at several times in my life to serve in missions, both here in the United States and abroad. My parents were huge supporters of home and foreign missions all their lives, and we were raised to have a great appreciation for missions as a result. I have incredible memories of our trip to Hong Kong when I was 14 years old. I served in the summer missions program in my hometown, Springfield, Missouri, for several years working in day camps with local kids of all ages. I served in Hawaii for one summer working with some challenging kids in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in a small town on the island of Oahu. I served in Salt Lake City, Utah during the W…