Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Last Month of AIM

The Final Month!
The month of June marked my final month of my AIM field time. It was a packed month ending with some hard goodbyes with the amazing people i have been blessed to know in my months spent in Grass Valley. Thank you all who gave your support and encouragement to me through my duration of the AIM program. It was a well worth experiance that I am so thankful to have had.

Also the new AIMer Chelsea Day arrived and is doing just great!

Horses For Healing
The horses for healing program had their annual benefit show this month. It was a lot of work but turned out great! We had acts from all the the state come and perform to raise money for the program. I volunteered as the directors assistant. So ran around directing the performers, telling them when they went out in the arena, and helping things run smoothly. We had a packed house and raised quite a bit of money for this program.

I also had to say my goodbyes at the ranch. I became really close with a lot of the workers and plan on keeping in touch with them. It was a sad goodbye but such a rewarding opportunity for me. It got the workers familiar with the church and i pray future AIMers can keep this ministry up.

Nursing Home
My last few times with Dona were just great. We crocheted our hearts out this month! This little lady became so very dear to me we were both in tears saying goodbye. Chealsea, the new Grass Valley AIMer, is continuing to go and visit Dona and has made friends with the workers there as well.

Thursday Studies
The final Thursday morning study that i have attend reguraly was really encouraging. The first time i ever went we had about 6 people. There were 12 on this past time. Doubled in size! This has been a great outreach. Pat and Harry who are a couple that attend started coming the church because of this study.

College Devo
The College Devo on Thursday evening continues to bring in a large group each week. This started about a month after my arrival and i pray continues long after i depart.

Going Away Party
The Church threw a going away party for me. It was really great to have everyone i grew to love gathered in the same place one last time. We spent the day talking, playing volleyball, and enjoying the last bit of time i had with everyone.

Thank you to everyone!
Thank you all who have been beside me on this journey. You are all dear to my heart and i could not have done this without you. My plans are to return to the University of Texas and continue my studies. This has been a great adventure and I am so thankful you all could be a part of it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Horses for Healing
I have been working with this program for a few months now. It has been such a great opportunity. This again, is a theraputic riding program. I assist special needs children in their therapy through horse back riding. I am at the ranch two days a week. This has also opened doors for me with the other workers. Marcy, who is the therapist at the ranch, and i have become good friends. Shes taken me trail riding and has been really interested in what i am doing and curious about the church. Another lady, Gail, has recently asked me if the church will pray for a situation in her family. My relationship with these wonderful ladies will hopefully plant a seed in their hearts. This is by far my favorite time of the week.

Nursing Home
Dona, as i have mentioned, is a darling little lady that resides at the local nursing home. I go and visit her about twice a week to crochet and talk about life. We both have been really encouraged by one another. Recently we got her a cd player and her and I have been crocheting our hearts out to classic western music. She is a Texan native to, so hearing her accent makes me feel right at home.

Ladies Tuesday Morning Study
Tuesday morning i have continued to attend the ladies study at the church. I am quite literally the only young adult there, so being asked to teach has been an honor for me. We just closed up the study for the summer this past week and they asked me to teach the final class. We went through the book Power Points for New Life.

Oregon Youth Rally
This past month Eli, Kira, Brittany, Erika, and myself headed up to Oregon for the annual Rally on the Rock youth rally. This is a three day youth rally that Eli goes to every year to speak at.
He asked us to come along to help be supervisors and leaders during the weekend. This was a great weekend with lots of good lessons, fun activities, and bonding between the youth of Oregon.

Thursday Bible Study
I am still continuing to attend the Thursday morning Bible study at the Hughes house. This study brings in folks that are not a part of the church but looking for answers and a time of fellowship for us all. It is a good start to the morning.

San Francisco Trip
This was probably the biggest event for me in May. I planned and organized a trip for the young girls of the church. It took place in San Francisco. This was a big task to take on but it turned out great. The theme was The Amazing Race. I set up a photo scavenger hunt for the girls around the Pier 39 area of the city. Everyone had an amazing time and wanted to make it an annual event. We even had shirts made to feel more official! All the girls really bonded and got to know others that they had never really talked to before. Also the people of the city definintely noticed the hoard of girls sprinting through the streets and thought it was a really neat thing we were doing. I planned a lot to where the items needed to be found would have to have human interaction so we could maybe have an impact on the city and be more meaningful of a trip. It turned out just great!

College Devo
Last month we started a weekly college devotional. This takes place Thursday nights. We have on average about 12 people each week. There is a dinner before and then a study following.

Girls Study
Its important for girls and guys to get together on their own and talk about our victories as well as struggles. We had our first girls study this past month and will continue to have one atleast twice a month.

Love you all so much and thak you again for your support. I have just a short time left here and will be returning home soon. Pray for me as i finish my time here!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hello All!
I am feeling very encouraged and overwhelmed at the opportunities God has given to me in the past weeks. If you have had the opportunity to read through my newsletters you will have known of my decision to finish my AIM time on a state side field. This decision came after months of prayer. I do not regret my time in Italy, but I feel this was the right choice for me. I have grown and learned from this experiance greatly.

My last week in Italy was spent saying goodbye to the people I loved and had formed relationships with during my time there. The Bible School in Florence had a tearful goodbye party for me on my last night in Italy. I am thankful that the Lord allowed me this opportunity as well as opened new doors for me in Grass Valley. I love and miss everyone dearly but i know the Lord has great things in store for me as well as those back in Italy. I will spend my last months in Grass Valley California finishing up my AIM requirements.

Grass Valley
Grass Valley California was one of the field choices my AIM class had. Eli Hooper and his wife Kelsey are the designated coordinators for the field and have had past AIMers work with them. His family has been involved with AIM for many years now. I have loved working with them and spending time with their family.

As I write this, I have officially been in California for two weeks. Beginning in April, I will move in with two sisters, Jo and Felicia, who also went through the program. I am so excited to have roommates after living alone for so long! Along with these girls, there are a handful of others from the church whom I have met throughout the years, so upon arrival, I had a great group of loving friends surrounding me. They showed me the town and have taken care of me quite well.

So what type of things will I be doing here?

Garden Ministry
On the church property they have a large garden of vegetables which are harvested and given to the needy. April will start the garden season. I will spend a lot of time working the soil and tending to the plants until harvest. When harvested, whoever is in need throughout the community will be given food. This is a great outreach and also provides people with basic needs.

Hospitality House
The Hospitality House is a house open for the homeless. Meals are provided throughout the week as well as sleeping accommodations if needed. I am able to volunteer here at any time during the week. I have always had a huge love for this type of ministry and I am so excited to begin working with it.

Horses for Healing
I want to take advantage of the little time I have in California, so I researched places where I could be a help. Horses for Healing is a ranch that offers therapy for children with terminal illness. I will be volunteering here on either Fridays or Tuesdays depending on their need for workers.

Apples of Gold
Apples of Gold is held once a month on Sunday afternoons. It is a group of elderly, middle age, and young adult women. This is a chance to build bridges between generations within the church.
The older women want to teach and share with us their life and experiences to help us grow, while they in turn learn about our generation of women now in the church.

Tuesday Visitation Group
On Tuesday afternoons a group meets at the church to creat cards for either visitors or other people within the church who need encouragement. After the cards are made and signed, the group visits and gives the cards to the people they are intended for. My time here last Tuesday was nice not only getting to meet with the members present, but also for a chance to encourage others through something as simple as a card.

On top of these opportunities, I hope to be a part of the community and show at least a glimpse of the love Christ has for them.

Coming up..
Eli Hooper is one of the speakers for the Camp Adventure held in Lubbock. It is a week for kids interested in AIM to come and see what it is all about. He also has been asked to speak at the annual Tulsa Workshop. The Tulsa Workshop is a convention for different Churches of Christ around the nation to come together and share their ministries while being giving the oppportunity to listen to some amazing speakers. Since my coordinators will be attending these, they asked me to attend both events.

Friday, October 30, 2009

October came and went!

October has been busy and i still have two more days of the month! Lets start off at the end of September though. I cant forget the trip we made as a team to Vicenza and the end of last month.


The Hughes family that i was privileged to meet my first trip to Vicenza asked Brandon, Evan, and I to spend the weekend with them. The weekend was great. Getting their was the trouble for us. Mike our coordinator offered us his car so we wouldnt have a chance of breaking down in our van. However while we were on the highway...it stopped running. Wouldnt you know it...we had put gas in a diesel car! After being towed, waiting around for a few hours to have our car drained, and being lost in translation, we were back on the road. It was good to get there! We went to a festival on base with some of the church members. The Hughes have two boys that Brandon and Evan loved getting to know. I spent the weekend learning how to make hand made cards and bake. Angy is an incredible cook and so talented with crafts.

Sunday they had members from the church as well as the two missionary families from Padove over for a BBQ (Rebeccah and Jeremy, Jeff and Tia) It was great seeing everyone again. Angy, James, Jared, and Caleb Hughes will be visiting us this next weekend! Were excited for them to come!

When in Rome!
The first weekend of October we spent with the church in Rome. They asked us to come just to spend time with one another. The week was just a focus on building relationships. They were so kind, we had dinner together, went to a lookout point that overlooked the city, and got to know one each other. Seeing the Rome and Prato Church come together was great...it was family.

Also this month i traveled to Milan for a week to help Tammy and Lewis Short. They have been long term missionaries there. The church was having their first wedding in 30 years so they asked for my help with the wedding as well as with their 3 girls.

The week was really hectic but great. I enjoy being on the go so this was perfect for me! I have mentioned the Shorts family before and i just absolutely love them. They have such spirit and do so much for the church there. We spent the days decorating the church, hosting two guests that were staying for the week, on top of cooking, cleaning, and watching kids. The wedding went great though! The church looked beautiful all decorated.

In between all this i was able to see The Last Supper painting and take a day trip to Switzerland! I also met a couple Bob and Marla, they are looking to come do mission work in Italy in the near future. Its encouraging to see other wanting to work here. I clicked really well with the Short family. Tammy was so easy for me to talk to and Lewis is like a walking encyclopedia...i could listen to him all day. The girls were fun to help watch. The baby, Deborah, cried when i held her most of the time but when i pulled out the camera she would stop and smile. so worth it! The oldest girl Makela and i enjoyed hot chocolate together one night while watching Veggie Tales. And the middle girl ,Rebeccah, i think laughed all week. She is full of joy constantly. After the trip i feel really close with there family. When i was going down the stairs to the subway after saying bye, i got so sad feeling like i was leaving family or something. Im really thankful they asked me to come help for the week.

However, it was great seeing Anto, Mike, Brandon, Evan, and everyone back in Prato!

What else I've been up to?

Every week twice a week i teach English to two children in Prato. They are 4 and 6. I am enjoying this a lot and getting to know their family each time i go to teach. The team and I have also continued to go to the Handicapped center throughout the week. Monday is a women's bible study in Florence. Thursday mornings a study over John...oh what else. One highlight to my week is on Mondays, our free day. I have started going early in the day to spend with my dear friend Ermenita. She is a member at the Florence church and my closest friend here.

I hope these blogs help you get a picture of my life here. Love you guys so much and thanks for reading!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hey guys! I hope all has been well for you these past few weeks. My last post i had just returned from Vicenza. About a day after Vicenza i hit the ground running...this time in Florence!

The Convegno!

Every year a Church of Christ convention is held in Florence.It is held at the Harding University Villa. They own the villa for students who choose to study abroad. The convention is for all the churches around Italy. They come together for a week and spend time hearing lessons, praying together, singing, getting to know one another. If any of you have been to Tulsa workshop....imagine a scaled down version but located in the beautiful countryside of Italy...with great food...in a beautiful villa...and everyone speaks Italian. Ok so not exactly like the Tulsa workshop but you get the idea. Also in Florence is a Church of Christ Bible School. We are becoming close with the people involves in these
ministries and programs and got to build our relationships with them during the convention. These people include David and Debbie Woodroof, their daughter Emily, Kyle, Ermenita, Robby, and others. I stayed in the girl's dorm at the Bible school. In the room with me was Anna, and a girl named Maria. Eacy day there were two speakers. in between speakers we fellowshipped together, ate meals, prayed, and sang. also had an entertaining talent show! Overall, it was an uplifting time with opportunities galore for metting fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. There are many who come that are not Christian but attend with family or friends. the girl Maria who stayed in the room with me at night is not a Christian. She came with family. every night we stayed up talking before we went to bed. She spoke little English but told me she wanted to keep in touch and be friends. she was so kind and i plan on keeping in touch with her. Not only for an opportunity to have a friend but more importantly an opportunity to share the gospel. This is only one of the many great things that happened throughouts the week. Also Tammy and Lewis were there. Tammy invited me to Milan to help her out with her children while Lewis is gone in October so i am looking forward to that! So many connections with different churches are being made. I feel recently that God is giving me opportunities and opening doors for me here

Mike and Anto Return!
Our coordinators Mike and Anto Mahan have been in America visiting family while also meeting with their supporters and giving updates to them about the work here. They returned the beginning of September so we are thankful for their return! Im looking forward to working with them.

Womens Convention
Since Mike and Anto came back, we spent a week preparing for the Womens Convention that took place the 11th-13th of September near Rome. We made bookmarks and prayer reminders that would be passed out at the convention. Anto was one of the ladies organizing and did an excellent job. On that Friday, Anna, Anto, and i all took off for the town near Rome where the location for the retreat was being held. I love roadtrips. I packed some m&m's, water, and fruit and Anto took care of the music. We got stuck in traffic in Rome and Florence...but made it there safely late that night. The roads here are VERY confusing and getting lost is not uncommon for my team and I. So props to Anto for finding her way there!

About 45 women attended. Tammy from Milan was there and also Rebecca from Padova who i met during my Vicenza trip. Also ladies i had met from the Florence Convegno showed up along with Debbie, Emily, and Jill from the Bible School. Of course there were new faces and new people to meet. Saturday we had two lessons and then two activities along with getting to know you's. The theme for the weekend was how to build a bridge between women of the church, despite age and circumstances. We are all sisters in Christ and we need to find ways to relate to one another no matter where we are in life. Anto had one activity where we all had a piece to a puzzle. We colored on it and when we put the pieces together it formed a heart. This represented that even though we, like the puzzle pieces, are all different, we are also the same and together can form somehthing beautiful. I stayed in a room with myself, anto, anna, and then three ladies from the church in Pistoia. One, Antonella, was recently baptized!! The weekend was awesome. I got to meet new people but also had heart to heart talks to Rebecca and spent time with Anna before she leaves.

Coming Up

This week we have passed out fliers around town offering free English lessons while usuing the Bible as our textbook. Please pray we get responses from these and that God can use them to do good here.Also, coming up my team and I will be taking a trip out to visit with friends from the church in Vicenza! It will be the last weekend in September. I am so excited and just love the folks out there so much! It is really going to be good seeing them all again.

Oh one last thing before i go! Anna returned this past week to America. Im sad to see her go! She is going to be praying and deciding if she might want to come back and work with us here in Prato. please pray for her decision. She would be a great help out here. Pray God shows her where she need to be.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Ciao! It is about time i updated. I have had an amazing week and hope i can remember everything ive done. I have just spent a week in Vicenza with the church family.

August is the vacation month for the Italian people. There is a lot of down time and you have to be self motivated to find yourself something to do. With the recent events of Kristen leaving, and honestly just adjusting to the pace of the culture and trying to find my purpose here, i was having a harder time than usual just keeping my spirits up. I really love Italy which i am so thankful for, but anywhere you go, when someone you love leaves, or you are in the midst of finding your place and where you can be most effective for Christ, there will naturally be a time when your not doing so well or feel out of place. The week before i went to Vicenza i think was that time for me. Last Thursday, Brandon and Anna decided to do some traveling, and Evan made the choice to stay in Prato. I knew i was in need of some encouragement so i sent an email to Angela and Titus Robison. They are the misisonaries in Vicenza. Pam, my aim assisstant, knew them and spent time with them recently, so i was able to contact them.

I had asked if there was anything in Vicenza i could do for the week to help the church. They said being August, they were not very busy, but would love to have me come anyways just to visit. For them to take me, being a stranger, in to their home really showed an example of what the church family is about and can do for each other. i was nervous because i had never met them or anyone in Vicenza before, but last Thursday morning i hopped on the train and took off.

When i arrived in Vicenza i was greeted by the Robison family. The have two sweet little girls. Right away we headed to the near by military base for lunch. The Robisons, myself, and the Hughes family went to the food court to eat. I had Taco Bell for the first time in months! Going months without something you enjoy, you realize not to take it for granted. Even if it is something as small as a taco. The Hughes have two boys about to start school this next week. They moved to Italy from Germany. Even just from a short lunch, they are all so full of life it was impossible to not be filled with joy by their presence. The church is a family, and i was getting to meet my relatives.That night i went with Titus to a Bible study at the church. It was in Italian, so i had to piece it together and Titus gave me a run down of it afterward.

Friday a boy from the church was flying into Milan, so we drove to pick him up. While we waited for him to arrive Tammy and Lewis opened up their home to us for the afternoon. Tammy is so sweet. Her and i talked some about what it means to be a child of God and what mission work is. We have to be realistic about our work and what we do. I have to do the best i can in Italy with the time that is given to me. At the end of the day if i gave all i had that day, i can be ok with that. It reminded me that all I came here to do was to love and to show others Christ...that can be done in so many ways.

For a few nights i spent the night with a girl named Ann. The whole week i was surrounded by so many Christians that gave me so much encouragement and passed along their wisdom. Ann really impressed me by her attitude. Her husband is getting deployed soon for a year. And she handles is with such grace and wisdom. Its like just another part of life of everyday life for her. That takes so much faith in God to be like...alright, i know your going to take care of me so im not going to worry. Its so true, we can worry and worry and worry...but it wont change anything. Trusting in God is a much better use of our time. Ann is so down to earth and just a fun person to be with. Ann if youre reading this you're awesome!

Sunday the church service was in three languages. Twi, Italian, and English. There was one song we sang with the lyrics, "Jesus is good, jesus is good, jesus is good, so good to me" It started in Italian, english came in, then finished in Twi. Seeing three totally different cultures all worshiping the same amazing Father was beautiful. It really made me see clearer how big God really is. He is everywhere and in the hearts of people all throughout the world. He is a God that gave His Son for all! Sunday night we had an english Bible study at the Hughes house. We had nachos, and fellowshiped together. This was a simple night but probably one of my favorite memories of the week.

Monday, 4 missionary families got together from different cities. It is awesome to see this group and how much they have sacrificed to be here. We had lunch and went to the park. They have completely given everything that is comfortable to them to be here and do be doing Gods work. Being welcomed into so many homes this past week really makes me see that the church is truley like a family and it is such a beautiful thing. Angie, Titus' wife, shared a lot of her wisdom with me through the week. This country and culture is all so different from what she is used to. Talking with her about depending on God through rough times and appreciating what God gives us gave me some new perspectives and motivation to go out and do what i can with my time here no matter how uncomfortable it may be to me.

So much more happened this week but this is already a really long blog. Needless to say this week was so good and traveling around meeting my church family was encaouraging and just what i needed. Seeing the churches around the country come together is great because other people will see the love between us all and start wanting to be part of it! The next week i am spending in Florence for a church of christ convention. i hope during my time i here i can continue to grow the relationships i have made with the people in Vicenza. They were so good to me and I thank God so much for letting our lives collide even if for a few days. Ill update again just as soon as i can! Love you guys and dont forget to thank God for everything He blesses you with. God is good!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Quick Update!! Great News!!

So as you all know Kristen, my only other girl teammate decided to change fields. This left me feeling a bit out of place and putting trust in God that He would fill the void. Brandon, my teammate, his sister and her friend Anna came to town to visit recently. During her visit we joked a bit saying she should stay and join our team. Anna has recently graduated from York and has a heart for missions. A day before the date of her departure she announces she would love to stay with us for an extended amount of time! She changed her ticket and will be with us atleast until mid-September to help us with the work here. God is so good! Thank you for all of your prayers during the past few weeks as our team has gone through some changes. I will write more soon and let you all know what else is going on in Italy but i wanted to share about Anna and how she was an answer to prayer for us. Have a great day everyone!