Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Hello, everyone. [Insert generic apology for being a terrible updater.] In case you weren't aware, I went to Burundi this summer on a Jesus Film Mission Trip. I wrote a letter to my supporters about my adventures, and I thought you might like to read it...

I just got back from an incredible two-week journey to Burundi, Africa about a month ago. My experience was more incredible than words can express, but I will do my best to share it with you.

I left home on July 30th—the first of four flights all the way from Wenatchee to Bujumbura. I met my team along the way and we headed to a hotel where we would have training and a much-needed lesson about the culture before we began our ministry. In order to reach more people for Christ, we split into two teams: one went to a town called Macomba, and my team went to Nyanza-Lac, which is a lakeside town with a view of Tanzania.

We had 22 film showings during our time in Burundi, and we worked together with pastors in the communities to coordinate them with church plants. Over 15,000 people came to the showings and 4,496 people indicated a decision to receive Christ.  This trip was much more about numbers, though. It was about making the Gospel accessible to the spiritually starving people of Burundi. The first film showing we had was in a Muslim community in Nyanza-Lac. Most of the villagers showed up after dark or listened through the walls of their homes so they wouldn’t be seen by their neighbors. We didn’t have a very big turnout at that one, but if even one person came to know Yesu—the Kirundi word for Jesus—it would’ve been worth it.

Aside from the film showings, we were very blessed to lead a pastors’ training and a youth conference. I didn’t personally get to speak, but many people on my team were able to share truths about the Bible and about God with the Burundians. My favorite part about the whole trip was, hands-down, the youth conference. I got to worship with other students who love God. Even though I didn’t know the words to the songs in Kirundi, I could worship right along with them.

The most beautiful struggle for me on the trip was that in reality, we didn’t do much. Most of the time I didn’t even set up the equipment. I literally just had my presence and my testimony to give, but bizarrely that was enough. Quite a few of my team members, myself included, struggled with this and eventually came to terms with the fact that God doesn’t need us to share the gospel. It’s not a specialized or privileged job at all. But although he may not need us, for some mysterious, beautiful reason, he wants us.

Friends, he chose to use us to share the most amazing message of redemption and life. I cannot quite grasp it. Thank you so much to those of you who supported me on this trip.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm on a book hunt

So, there's this book that I read years ago that I haven't been able to get off my mind lately. It was mind-blowingly funny and amazing and is probably my favorite book ever, but I can't find it anywhere. I can't even remember the title, the author, or even the characters' names.

All I know is that it had an orange cover and was written by an Australian. It was a YA novel about a boy who likes girls with muscles. He has two hippy parents who make a house out of manure, and he also ends up putting port-a-potties on some inspector's yard.

This mystery book is driving me crazy. I've searched the interwebs and everything, but I still can't find it. The problem is, it feels a bit Romantic searching for a book like this. It's like a lost love or something, and I'm trying to rescue if from oblivion. But what happens when I finally find it and realize it's not nearly as good as I remember.

Or worse...what if it is?

I may or may not be a little sleep deprived at the time of this post. But if you know this book, PLEASE let me know.

UPDATE: I finally found this book on a random library site. It's called I'm Being Stalked by a Moonshadow, and you should totally check it out. It's no John Green, but it's a great light read and made me laugh the second time.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Guatemala and book requests

About a week and a half ago, I returned from Guatemala. (And yes, I realize I barely mentioned I was going and I am very sorry.) It's just that this Africa trip has taken precedence with both funds and thoughts. The opportunity to go to Guatemala came up from nowhere, so I accepted without even fully comprehending it. A full five days after I came back from college, I got on a plane to Guatemala City, still slightly dazed.

When I got there, I was frustrated and feeling a bit useless. We were staying at a house there, so I hadn't been able to use my Spanish and I didn't even have a job yet (it was a medical mission trip). It seems like I always have this drive to be useful, but I was on a mission trip and I wasn't really feeling it. But God slowly began to teach me that his plan for me is much more than simply being useful. He wants to use me, but more than that he wants my heart. I finally did find a job--the eye clinic--and was able to use my Spanish, but I also rediscovered a calling for Guatemala. I have decided to intern there next summer for about a month and a half, and I can hardly wait until then.

I also have other exciting news: an agent requested the first 50 pages of my book (you might remember this anxious post about sending it in)! It was actually the only agent I sent it into, which is quite awesome but unlikely. Anyway, I spent July 4th (and part of the 3rd) ferociously copy-editing. I think I've probably read those 50 pages a total of 50 times. I'm not even going to look at them until I get any feedback, though, because I know if I do I'll see a gazillion typos. However, I am going to copy-edit the rest a ton...just in case something ridiculously unbelievable and exciting happens. I'll be sure to let you know.

Monday, May 28, 2012


The school year is almost over, and I am in a bit of shock. I can't believe that I'm at the end of my freshman year. I mentioned to my roommate on a camping trip this weekend that we were only going to be living together for less than two weeks, and I almost started crying. I almost cried again when I thought about not having the same corefas (small group leaders) next year. That's the problem with me. I just want to hold people close and never let anything change. But change is good...right? I mean, you never get to have new experiences if you hold everything tight to your chest.
Next year I'm rooming with a girl on my floor who's too awesome to describe in a blog post, but I'll just say that she's a lover of Jesus, a resident of Alaska who's moving to Montana this summer, and an eater of meat (she assumes that I always describe her as a meat eater since she always tells people I'm vegan, so I just had to put that in there). But anyway, she's totally awesome and I'm excited to get to know her better through living with her next year.
And apparently God has called me to be a corefa next year, which is still kind of crazy to me. I'm not exactly the most qualified person for the job, but I guess God wants me there so I'm sure it will work out.
I know that God has grown me in myriad ways this year and I shouldn't just stay where I am, but I am going to miss the way things are now a lot.
Sorry for the sentimental post. To make up for it, here's a joke:

A man walks into a bar...

That's the best I've got. What, you're saying I shouldn't go into stand-up comedy? But this is America--what about my dreams?
Heh-heh. Enjoy the summer (or the remainder of classes), and DFTBA.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Novel editing and the origins of "adios"

I'm not sure why this is, but it's extremely hard to rationalize doing homework when I have some fantastic scenes in my head just waiting to come out on paper. I mean, grades are just made of letters (and sleepless nights, of course), while this book could potentially be made of awesome. Of course, I haven't yet neglected my studies, but it's tempting. Very tempting.
At first when I finished my draft I wanted to throw up when I thought about editing it, but now it's actually kind of nice. The dialogue is much less awful now, and the scenes are flowing together better.
On an unrelated note: I just google image searched myself to see what a prospective agent might find, and I seem to have miraculously avoided the Internet. Except for a picture of my be-Chacoed (Chacofied?) feet that is the album cover for my piano music. Which I find extremely entertaining.
Since this entire post seems rather random and out-of-place, I should probably mention that one of my friends (who is actually going to be my roommate next year. Yay!) was wondering where the word "Adios" came from. "A" means to, and "Dios" means God, so I shot a finger-gun at her and said, "Adios." To God. I'll leave you to ponder the philosophical implications of this why I either study Spanish phonetics or write a scene.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Of query letters, glasses, and trusting God

I sent in a query letter and a sample of my book to an agent last Monday. Which means that it's probably ON HER DESK RIGHT NOW AND SHE'S GOING TO READ IT AND AHHHHH. Sorry. I've been known to occasionally be disproportionately enthusiastic. I just can't help imagining what it would be like for an agent to actually say yes.
Because I'm neurotic and can't stop myself, I've been editing my book like an insane person ever since sending in the query letter. I know that, in theory, you're supposed to have polished a draft to perfection before sending it in, but I don't think that a book is really ever ready until printing. So I've been adding in scenes, cutting out others, and improving the dialogue throughout. Guys. I am so excited about this one. I think it actually stands a chance to get published. Maybe. We'll see, I guess.
This week, I found out that not only am I going to Burundi this summer, but I am also going to go to Guatemala! (Insert happy dance.) God is so awesome. I still don't know how it's going to work out, but that's part of the wonder of it all. It's sort of the same with living on campus. A girl from my Core and I are about 98% sure we're going to live in one of the dorms together next year for the specific purpose of reaching out to the community. At first, I was really hesitant because, as much as I wanted to do it, I had no idea where the money would come from. But I still could really sense God calling me there. I don't really know where the money will come from yet, but if God wants us there then he will provide for us somehow.
Yesterday I got my new glasses in the mail. I was sort of worried because I picked them out in a bad mood due to my yellow fever injection and blurry vision from my eye exam. But they're amazingly nerdy and cute. They're a little crooked, though, and I have to somehow find a way to get to Costco so that they don't drive me crazy.
Oh, and I found out that I'm going to be a conversation partner with an exchange student on campus. Which is awesome and everything, except that it falls on One Day without Shoes (you may remember my post about it last year). So basically I have two choices: 1) give my convo buddy an interesting first impression of Americans and college life in general, or 2) just wear shoes like a Normal Person. Guess which option I'm leaning toward?
Yup. That one.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

God, The Fault in Our Stars and other bits of awesome.

I'd been wanting to read John Green's newest novel, The Fault in Our Stars, since it came out, but I am still clueless about how the Bellingham library works and I can't exactly afford to buy books. However, the other day I suddenly remembered that my lovely grandmother had given me an Amazon gift card for Christmas, and I immediately ordered the book. (Well, as soon as logging into Amazon, of course.) I started reading it last night when it arrived, and I finished it tonight. I think that I'd forgotten how much I loved reading. College--and writing on my own book quite extensively--had just drained me of energy for reading, but the more I think about the more I realize that's an awful mindset. I will always have to do something, and if I want to just wait for time to do the things that matter then I will never end up doing them.
Anyway. On to the book...
It was absolutely phenomenal. I've always loved John Green's works, but this is, from my opinion, his best. It is profound and funny, but also heartbreaking and real. It's one of those books that you pick up and in fifteen pages you already know it's going to be one of your favorites. So, yeah. You should read it, library or no. (Side note: for the first time ever while reading a novel, since I'm woefully unconnected with pop culture, I understood all of the allusions and felt extremely nerdy and extremely proud at the same time. DFTBA.)

[Insert awkward segue here], and, so, I'm pretty much in awe of what God has been doing in my life lately. I think that that for the majority of my life, I experienced little bursts of spirituality that honestly never really amounted to much other than contented complacency. I wanted to share my faith all the time, become hardcore, and fall completely in love with Jesus, but it never exactly happened.Well, things are different now. I don't know if I can adequately put into words what God has been doing in my heart (or if I'm truly hardcore--what does that even mean, anyway? I don't have abs made of steel), but it's quite terrifying and great. I think one of the most striking things that I've been learning, though, is that you might have your first big "surrender" when you accept Christ and all that, but the surrendering doesn't really stop there. You have to do it all the time because you forget that first time so easily.
I've also broken my little comfort bubble and asked people spiritual questions for Discipleship Class and gone conversational evangelizing. Yes, I'm rather incredulous as well.

God is kind of awesome.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Remember when I told you guys that I'm going to Africa this summer? Well, it's really, really happening, and I've started sending out letters. I'm posting my letter on here, so feel free to read it if you want to find out about my trip!


Happy New Year! I can hardly believe that Christmas has already past and I’ve already started my second quarter at college. Last quarter, I became involved with Campus Christian Fellowship and joined a few clubs.  I also felt the Lord’s calling to apply for a Jesus Film mission trip to Burundi, Africa. Ever since the Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) US Staff Conference, I’ve had this incomprehensible urge to go to Africa, so I took one of Jesus Film trip brochures. Although finances were tight and I was uncertain of my future, I was convinced that God wanted me to apply.
About a month later, during Thanksgiving break, I received my acceptance email. I am going to Africa. Every time I say those words, this giant rush of joy and excitement runs through me.  I have no doubt that God has wanted me to go all along, and I am exited to see him working through me and the rest of my team in Burundi.
Burundi is a small African country surrounded by Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. My team and I will travel to several rural villages there and put on showings of the Jesus Film in the native languages. Burundi has three official languages—French, Rundi, and Swahili—plus countless other dialects. I’m currently learning a bit of French, but we will have translators to help us communicate with the people. Some of the people we will reach will never have heard the gospel before, and I get to share that with them!
As excited as I am about Burundi, I cannot go alone. This trip will cost about $4000, more than I have in my bank account. I hope that you will pray about supporting me both spiritually and financially. A gift of $50, $100, $300—or however much you feel led to give—would help tremendously on my journey. Although you might not be able to go to Burundi personally, helping to send me there will transform lives.  
If you choose to send a check, please make it out to Cru and send it to my dorm address.
Thanks so much!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oda a mis gafas

I wrote a poem in Spanish and thought I'd post it on here (but no, it does not have a translation, so you'll just have to become bilingual to comprehend my genius).

Oda a mis gafas
Los suéteres se desgastan,
el ambiente eventualmente destruye los pantalones,
y los zapatos no duran para siempre,
pero cada día me pongo las gafas.
Amigos fieles, siempre me ayudan.
Sus montas rectangulares abrazan a sus lentes.
Sus ventanas claras me dan pasamiento al mundo de color.
He perdido el arte de ver.
Paso por las gotas de agua en las hojas de los árboles,
los arcos irises por encima de mi cabeza,
las sonrisas tímidas en las bocas de los desconocidos, 
y los nubes sonrojos.
Mis ojos escogen mirar a las calles, las fechas, y los informes.
No quieren recordar su ceguera,
pero siempre están allí mis gafas.
Amigos sabios, esperan silenciosamente
el momento de recordar.
Tristes sin lágrimas, no dicen nada
mientras camino rápidamente a la clase.
Sienten sin movimiento en mi nariz
cuando cruzo la calle hablando por teléfono.
No me piden nada.
Anticipan que los me ponga
y pare por ver brevemente,
que observe las gotas de agua y los nubes,
y que mire la lluvia con ojos fascinados.
Mis gafas, guías leales, me enseñan silenciosamente
a ver.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

If you're a student in college...

If you're a student in college, someone is bound to ask you what you're studying.
When you answer this question, they will ask you what you want do with your degree.
This impromptu interview will remind you that you really should be studying, so you will quickly dismiss yourself and hit the books.
Doing your math homework will remind you that you really don't like math, so you will go buy a snack instead.
As you buy your breakfast cookie at exactly 3:27 p.m., you will remember that you were supposed to call your mother before your breakfast.
When you make the call, you will see a clipping of job advertisements on the cork board.
The advertisements will remind you that you really need some work experience.
Your need of work experience will remind you that you really have no idea for what field you need it.
This quandary will remind you that you that you really need to declare a major.
And when you declare your major, someone is bound to ask you what you plan to do with it.

(Modeled after If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.)

I seem to be very fond of parodies lately. For my Honors assignment, I had the idea of writing a poem instead of a standard essay, and my prof approved. It is a parody of Dante's Inferno from Muhammad's perspective, written in iambic pentameter and (almost) terza rima. It has been quite fun to write, but more than a little painstaking. This song has helped a lot, though. Heh, heh.