Hi friends & family, Quick version: 1. I'm in Indianapolis, staying at my parent's, writing about my Around the World trip from 2007.
-My goal: to finish my personal edits by end of Nov. Eek. It may take longer. But I'm working on it. 2. Praying about next steps. 3. Have some leads with different anti-trafficking groups want to have safe/restoration houses. 4. Connecting with people who have similar interests. 5. Thanks for your love, prayers, & support.
Longer version: Links to anti-trafficking organizations, surprising new fall wardrobe, life-changing revelation of the Pearl of great price, and encouragement for the weary . . .
I'm so thankful to be in Indiana during autumn!
Our house is under towering maple trees that turn glorious colors of red, gold, orange, green, and with blue skies - I'm surrounded in a rainbow. We raked for a few hours today - lots of work, but worth the beauty. (That's my theme.)
1. My older brother's wedding was beautiful. (Sept 4th) I'm so happy to have my new sister, Mandy. She is a gem. I loved seeing so many friends & family - it was a big reunion!
2. Big decision this fall: I'm staying at my parent's, writing about my Around the World trip from 2007. It's my M-F job, & I'm working hard to have my personal edits finished by the end of Nov. It's a big task - compiling, cutting, making narrative, editing from my blog & journals. Eek. Please pray for perseverance & for the Lord to stream-line stories he wants out there. I want to be faithful to finish the project. (I prayed about/considered/pursued other options, but it seems to be the season to write.)
*Substitute teach at Heritage (where mom teaches, her 20th year!)
*Teach 3/4th grade Sunday School at Church at the Crossing. Lot's of fun. We do dramas of great stories - Abraham & Sarah, etc.
*Practice cooking & piano, visit friends, see grandparents, help harvest corn & beans.
*For my & other family Oct birthdays, my parents took me, grandparents, uncle, bro & wife to Camelot at a dinner theater. Great time with family. Saw a dear teacher friend from Tech HS, Mary Ann, & God encouraged me I'm writing for her & others.
(King Arthur & Round Table - profound message for me: a child wanted to carry on the King's dream - it reminded me of children having faith to carry & extend the dream of my Lord Jesus' Kingdom, through their hearts and lives.)
3. I'm praying about next steps.
4. A few connections for dream house for kids:
Met people I may be working/networking with (On-going prayer: for God to assemble the team)
Wonderful week at IHOP (International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri) (See blog for story)
Met lady in Indy involved in foster care/adoptions in IN, with Bethany adoption agency. They want to raise awareness in Indy for need to adopt/foster. [How it relates: trafficked kids in the US (international & domestic) are put in foster care, if they can't go home.]
Directed to talk to non-for-profit lawyer; need to.
Set up a business bank account (for book sales, travel advising, etc. - personal revenue for dream)
Set up a dream house bank account (for expenses whenever things start moving)
A new teammate, Levi, is out in New Haven, CT, and networking w/ Love146, a not-for-profit anti-trafficking organization. Connections with YWAM (Youth with a Mission, the group I trained with in Hawaii & Colombia). They run a safe house for kids in the Philippians. And are hosting a conference to help network & train people.
Through leads from friends & fam, I read about two Christian groups that dream & plan to have US homes for kids rescued from trafficking in the States. (I'm also considering a US home, but am interested in providing a family for international kids brought into the States that can't go home / or don't have a home to go to. But praying about all of this.)
Beauty from Ashes - ministry to domestic sex exploited women. They're currently raising funds for a safe home.
Courage to be You - ministry beginning pursuit of opening a safe home for children rescued from trafficking.
Forgotten Song - ministry hoping to have home for children in war/trafficked places. They are considering Colombia. I met Charles, the founder, when I went to Children at Risk school in Bogota.
International Justice Mission - organization out of DC that also helps stop trafficking (among other injustices). I would like to network with them as well.
Lots of good leads from people - thank you so much. And thanks for your prayers & support & love.
Before leaving for Hawaii last year, I gave away all my clothes, except what I was taking. Standing in front of an empty closet, I felt sick. What did I just do? But I felt like God impressed in my heart that I could trust him. I remembered he provided in the past. Ok . . .
Now I'm back in the States, the weather is getting cooler, and I wonder how God will provide. I've also been praying for running shoes. I almost went to buy some a few times, but felt like I should wait.
My good friend from high school, Heidi, decided to go through her closet & get rid of tons of clothes. It was hard for her, but it became a HUGE blessing for me. Everything fit perfect with great colors & styles - I got a whole fall wardrobe just in time for sub training on Monday.
As I pulled the tub of clothes out to the car in my bare feet, she asked if I had shoes. "My flip-flops. They're by the back door," I replied. Then she went back to her closet, pulled out some beautiful Asics running shoes, with comfy insoles, barely worn, and said, "I have to get rid of these, they hurt my feet." They're size 9, fit great, and look like shoes pictured in my mind while at IHOP (international house of prayer). Thank you, God!
Why do I worry about money when God provides the butter? (That phrase may become a new Ericka-ism.) He is my Resource. He is THE Provider and has endless connections & can move hearts & mountains. (Side-note: I do have money for what I need right now. Thank you, Lord, for providing through other's generosity.)
The clothes really encouraged me about any future ministry and having a house - God can totally provide for everything. And not just minimal. He can even go beyond my wildest expectations. He is so good & so worthy of all my love. Not just because of the good gifts he gives, but because he is good.
Hang in there if you're discouraged. I just went through a stretch of blah/felt yuck/frustrated/what am I doing? It helps me to journal my prayers and frustrations & then try to listen to his words for me. Sometimes I wonder if I'm making the thoughts up, but I write them anyway & learn to listen. He speaks. I also love to dance and praise him to some good worship music - when I focus all on him, that helps me get my mind off my worries or stress. A great phrase I wrote down while listening & journaling in Israel, on the Sea of Galilee was, "You don't ever have to worry about anything." That phrase came with the understanding he is big and able to handle anything I would or could ever worry about. I try to remember that & walk in it. It's hard. But if he says it, it must be trustworthy. ("Don't worry about tomorrow . . .")
He is the Pearl of Great Price - worth everything. That was the main thing I got from my week at IHOP. During prayer time, I saw a picture of a beautiful, huge, white pearl. I knew it represented the Lord - it was him, his presence. And I knew, just like the parable Jesus told, "The man sold everything for it, because he saw it's great value," (my paraphrase) that pearl was worth everything. My right arm, even. I want my life to be in pursuit of him and his ways. He is that good.
I love you guys. Thanks so much for walking with me & for your encouraging emails. They mean a lot to me.
Big thanks: to the Lord for providing for all my needs, a place to sleep, food, parents, and for support from family & friends. Thank you.
Hardest thing right now: perseverance in writing. It's tough, sitting every day, trying to compile stories, make narrative, edit, edit, edit. It's an investment that I trust will bring a great harvest. I'm thankful for the time to write. It's an important story to share. And God teaches me a lot as I go back over the journey. My hope: it will be a huge encouragement to whoever reads the finished work. :)
Your prayers are so appreciated. Ideas: for direction, perseverance & joy, & sweet times just with Him. Thank you.
Thanks for your love & support!
Let me know how I can pray with you; a few have, & I do enjoy praying.
Country house for international kids that need a family, bringing restoration to body, soul, spirit and lives. International staff to demonstrate God's love & unity and to connect with children's ethnicity. After witnessing kids rescued from human trafficking in India, I thought, "I could be a mom for them."
In the story of Camelot, a little boy wants to extend the King's dream of 'might for right' (using strength to defend the cause of the poor & needy), even as Arthur's kingdom fell.
The King knights the little boy and gives him the charge to, "Speak the message of the Kingdom far and wide with a loud, clear voice." The little boy goes off, wielding his wooden sword, oblivious to the 'reality' of the world. All he hears is the voice of his King, and he knows the dream is possible.
This is a powerful message to me.
Jesus is the King of Kings & all his dreams are reality.