Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Identity

During my time in Georgia I was able to be a part of a wonderful body of believers. While there I quickly became known as "Alaska." Not just in passing, but truly that was my identity. Everyone called me that. It was on the contact info in their phones. Even those who only knew me through other people, called me Alaska.

Alaska was such a part of me and my conversations it's what people associated with me. Clearly my passion for Alaska showed so strongly that, that is what became my identity. It's what people saw when I spoke about home. It poured out of every fiber of my being. So much so that friends in Alaska banned me from posting on social media about missing it so I would focus on my time in Georgia.

This realization made me ponder what people see in me when they interact with me. Does my love for Christ come out and so envelope me that, that is what they see? Do I speak of Jesus with such a great passion and love that people see Him in me? That people want to know Him more because of me?

As believers we often talk about how our identity is in Christ. Easy to say, incredibly difficult to truly live by. Where is your identity? Is whose you are so evident that friends of friends know Him?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Nome: My Favorite Place on Earth

I have often said Nome is one of my favorite places on earth. Just over seven years from when I first stepped foot into Nome, and a day after returning from my sixth Iditarod, I think I have figured it out why I love Nome so much.


Nome was the first place I fell in love with in Alaska. I stepped foot in Alaska with my Dad, the first and most influential spiritual leader in my life.

I met a young eleven year old girl, who now at eighteen is pushing me to grow closer to Christ through discipling her. The door to future times serving in Alaska was opened.

I returned to Nome for Iditarod the next three years. In those times I met men and women who have continued to shape me and my walk with Christ. A young women who I watched show how to have a Christ centered relationship and marriage. Who now, with her husband are my some of my closest friends, and keep me grounded in life.

I met and continued to spend time with a mentor and my Eskimo Grandparents who invited me into her home and culture, to show and share how Jesus has changed her world. I cried with her, laughed with her, learned so much from her. And finally said see you later way to soon.

The fun, crazy, incredible executive director who I am now have the privilege of working under. The one who even before working beside I have learned so much from.

Three years ago I met incredible friends and got to enjoy my fifth Iditarod in six years. It was the first of many fun experiences with a group of people who love Jesus and are striving to serve Him by simply living their daily lives in Nome.

I have met mushers who have shared incredible stories from the trail. Who have let me into what 12 days on the trail could look like. How they have seen the Northern Lights dancing in the sky, the sun and moon rising and setting and the glory of God all around.

I have met wise men and women who have invested in me, even though I am not regularly around. Men and women who I know I can always ask for advice, prayer or even just call when I am struggling.

Nome is so much more than a geographical location, or town on the coast of Alaska. It is vital in my Spiritual journey. Each time I step foot in Nome, I am challenged, a new step in my spiritual journey is taken. It is hard to express, but Nome is ingrained in who I am and how God is shaping me.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Six Months

Six months ago I hugged you for the last time. It's been six long months since I heard your voice or listened to you sing or play. One hundred and eighty days since I heard the passion for your people in your voice.

Nothing prepared me for this moment, no amount of knowledge or information would have changed how broken my heart was when I got the phone call you where singing with Jesus. No matter how many days pass I still miss you, I still look forward to the next time we can talk. Even though I know that day will never come here on earth.

I can hear your voice as you sing to the Lord. I can see your face as you praise your husband. I can feel your arms around me as you give me a hug. The number of days between when I saw you last and now keeps getting larger. The memory of that day looms large in my mind, yet is overshadowed by the hundreds of memories from the last five years.

I still wear the kuspuk you made me, and share your story. Just a few weeks ago I spoke to a room full of elementary school students and shared with them all about you, your people and how your deepest desire was to see them love Jesus.

I fondly look back on the weeks I spent in your house eating native food, listening to you and loving every minute of our time together. I cannot wait to return to Saint Lawrence Island with Daniel to once more love on the youth of your home.

Over seven years ago I placed a sticker on my Bible that daily brings my mind to the Yupik people. It has brought purpose and joy to my life to work towards the goal of seeing the Yupik people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

Four years later I stepped foot on Saint Lawrence Island for the first time. I saw you love your family in the midst of deep pain. I watched as you challenged them to rise above what they have been told they are, and to rise up into who Jesus has made them to be!

It has been over a year since I was on Saint Lawrence Island, but my heart is still in Western Alaska. Life is changing, yet my purpose is still to see your love for your people shown through me. To see them find their hope in Jesus.

Ms. Dorcas, you may have left this earth, but your legacy lives on. If only I could put into words how deep your influence runs, but years of mentorship, love and challenge is impossible to write down. My only hope is that I am not the only one who sees how deep your love for Jesus and those around you ran. That your reach continues to grow and show the world just how powerful Jesus is in changing lives!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What is ministry

What is ministry? This question has been rolling around in my head for a while now. 

Many would say it's making a living by sharing the hope Jesus has and meeting needs. There are many ways that can happen. Being a full time pastors, worship leader, youth or children's minister. Traveling overseas to do humanitarian work alongside sharing about Christ. 

Webster's says it is

  • The office, duties, or functions of a minister
  • A person or thing through which something is accomplished
I am sure there are many other definitions as well. However, just as important, if not more, is the mindset behind "ministry."

Over the last three years I have been actively involving myself in "ministry." I began working with college students on campus at the University of Oregon. Then I moved to Alaska to work with a construction ministry, that focused on villages in the Norton Sound Region. Then it was working alongside a church plant in the Anchorage area. 

Each of these things where great contributors to who I am today. They each brought challenges, blessings, changes and growth. Then over the last six months I have not been involved with "ministry."  I have instead worked in a secular job, simply earning a living. 

I have several friends who are working as social workers, investigators, child care advocates, family support, foster families, doctors, and nurses. Each of them love the Lord with their whole heart and seek to use their job to share the hope Jesus gives. 

I have always considered them in "ministry" I know they have difficult jobs. That they need support, encouragement, prayers, and love.

But I never saw myself that way. I  was working to pay the bills. Waiting for the summer so I could go back to "real" ministry. I was using the idea of ministry as an excuse to become complacent. I stopped getting out of my comfort zone. \\

Then I realized I wanted to see God working. So my perspective changed. I began to see God moving around me. I began earnestly seeking to recognize how he moved in lives around me. 

I was hit by a ton of bricks when I realized I was hiding, using the idea of ministry as my ultimate goal. Losing sight of what God had in front of me, because I was looking past now into the future. 

Ministry is as much as the attitude of actively seeking God to move through us as believers as it is a title. 

As I heard on a podcast recently "stay uncomfortable." Actively ask God to use you in YOUR life. Do not miss the present looking towards the future, or back at the past.  

Saturday, January 9, 2016

No Longer Slaves

There is a popular Christian song with a line that says “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a Child of God.” This song, and specifically this line have been important in my life over the last months.

As I began working through new stages of life I realized, I am much more fearful, than I would have believed. I wrote a blog about it fear in my life a few months ago. Read it for my that background on fear. 


My phone lock screen
Needless to say I have much to learn about being a Child of God. About no longer being a slave to fear. Each New Year many create resolutions. While I did not sit down and create a resolution list this year, the first few days of the year have been full of thought on where I want my life to go this year. 

One of those things is being fearless for Christ! No longer tied down with what people think of me. I’m no longer tied to what I think of me. I am a Child of God! I am His! What do I have to fear, except fear itself. 
Phone Background
I don’t know what the future holds. I am uncertain exactly where I am going. But this I know. I am a child of God and I am His. I will move forward in life fearless for Him! 

No longer slave is my motto for the year. Whatever life may bring I can stand assured that I am in the hands of my Mighty God. Whether it is through my job where excellence is expected and life is insane for two months. Or in my business. A team business which I have named “No Longer Slaves Team.” 

This is for multiple reasons. I believe 100% in the path God has placed me on with Rodan and Fields. I believe in God’s ability to free those who are slaves to the “normal” life through R+F. That He can provide time, finances, and opportunities to be used for His glory. Anyway he wants to. In my life, that way is Rodan and Fields. An amazing company that is changing skin and changing lives. 

What are you a slave to? What is God going to free you from this year? You are His Child! Made in His Image!! Let’s act like it! 

Me with my "Why" at Rodan and Fields Convention 2015

"To see the world through Christ's eyes! To show the world who They are in Christ. Share the hope Jesus gives freely!"

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fear

Fear:
Webster defines fear as 
: to be afraid of (something or someone)
: to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)
: to be afraid and worried

Fear is something I have been thinking of quite a bit lately. If you where to ask me what I am afraid of I would probably say I couldn't come up with something. Spiders, they don't bother me. Snakes, no big deal. Rodents, while I don't like them, I can deal with them. Heights, love them. The dark, I enjoy a quite night outside. I have no idea what "traditional" fear I have.

Yet in all honesty. I am full of fear. Fearful of letting go of all my expectations of who I should be. Or who I believe people believe I should be. Fearful of what might happen if I allow God full access to each and every part of my life. Fearful of what my life may look like if I embrace the possibilities in front of me. Fearful of rejection. Fearful of what other people think of me, even though I proclaim I couldn't careless about what you think of me. Fearful of what could happen if I reveal ever part of myself, all my struggles, all my sins. 

In short even though those phobias people talk about I might not really have. I do have fear in my life. But the best part of this story? I am a child of God. Just as the song says, "I am no longer a slave to sin, I am a child of God!"

1 John speaks about fear and love. 
1 John 4:18
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."
1 John 4: 8 "Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."

God is love. Perfect love casts out fear. Who better to give perfect love than God who IS love?  Through Him there is no fear. 

But do I trust God enough to allow His perfect love to come over me and drive out fear? Can I do as Proverbs 3 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Trust isn't easy. Even to trust the creator of the world isn't easy. Why? That is the million dollar question. I have no idea. I just know that it isn't easy, it's something I struggle with each and everyday. 

Am I ready? Am I ready to fight the battle of letting God's love cast out my fear? It's not just a choice to pursue the amazing things God has placed in my life, it's a choice to battle Satan and the lies he puts in my head. Will it be easy? Absolutely not! But heres to fighting that fight. To putting in the blood, sweat and tears it will take to allow God's love to come over me in a way that drives out fear. 

How do I do that? Well it starts with soaking in God's love. Meditating on what He has placed in my life. Absorbing the love He gives through His word, and through the people He has placed in my life. It comes with working to fearlessly follow the amazing opportunities He has given me. 


Here is the song that began the articulation of this battle I am in the midst of. I pray it challenges and inspires you. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Iron Dog

Since the beginning of February I have had the privilege of working and serving alongside the staff and volunteers of Iron Dog. This organization puts on the longest, toughest snowmachine race. Over 2,000 miles of extreme terrain is crossed by teams of two on snowmachines. They skipped across water, ran miles of terrain typically covered in snow that this year was only covered in dirt, all while trying to be the fastest team that doesn't lose valuable time by breaking down.

The staff of Iron Dog works all year to make this ten day event a success. I was given the privilege of seeing and experience the inner workings, and yes even frustrations, of this outstanding organization.

Skilled Missions and Alaska Missions have been volunteering with Iron Dog for four years. It has been a slow process, but the family of Iron Dog has come to appreciate the service we give.

This year many conversations where had about where our joy and servant attitude came from. The only answer is Jesus. Some do not understand this, and that is ok. The goal of continuing to serve is to be a light and a reflection of Jesus.

I cannot sit here and say that I was a perfect example of Christ all week. On the contrary, I struggled with being tired, having a bad attitude, or speaking in hurtful ways to those around me. Each of these are things I am trying to work through. But they are not easy. It is hard to wake up after a long day of working hard and a short night to work hard again. It isn't fun to smile, say yes and being ready to serve in whatever way possible.

It is amazing how an intentional week of serving does shines light on my shortcomings and reveals ways I need to grow in Christ. That is my new, and old, challenge. Let go of my old self and put on the new self I am in Christ. Be praying for me as this has been clear over the last few days, yet my flesh still tries to get me to revert back to my old ways.

There are so many great memories from the last two weeks. Many I am hoping to share with you over the next few days. This was a fantastic time of service and fun! The staff and volunteers are great to work with, it is always fun and everyone has a great attitude.




Just a few snapshots of our time. As I write more I will add more specific pictures. I hope you enjoy them!