Friday, October 06, 2006

Here They Are

Erika and Geoff in Hungary

This is Geoff

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Congratulations Erika and Geoff!!

This is the best news I have heard in a while! On February 24th my best friend, Erika Godfrey, will become Mrs. Geoff Allen!! I was not going to write about this until I had a picture of the bride and groom...but I just could not wait! The picture will have to come later. As Erika sat on my couch last night telling me about her engagement, I thought of the countless hours we have spent praying and dreaming of our future husbands. All those late nights we spent in our dorm room talking about our hopes and desires (while stuffing ourselves with apples and caramel dip). And here she was showing me pictures of wedding dresses! I could see the joy on Erika's face as she answered all my normal "best friend questions" about Jeff. She does not mind talking about him! I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see someone I love so much finally getting the desire of her heart. So congratulations you guys...Geoff you are a blessed man!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

After the Ruins

“The ruins of our own cherished plans are often the beginning of the good God has for us.” – Mark Dever

In the book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson, a man named Ordinary leaves the land of Familiar to find his Big Dream…given to him by the Dream Giver. In Nobody’s journey to the Unknown he goes through many obstacles that try to keep him from finding his Big Dream. He also makes new friends, like Faith (my favorite character) who helps him get through a dark time in the Wasteland. When Nobody finally makes it to his Big Dream, the Dream Giver says one thing – “Give me your dream.” Ordinary is crushed over choosing between his dream and obedience to the Dream Giver. After much struggle, Ordinary surrenders his Big Dream. He continues on his journey disappointed, but with a great sense of peace. Then the Dream Giver returns his surrendered dream. Ordinary is delighted to find that now his dream has grown, it is no longer about him, but about the Dream Givers big plan for the whole world.
When my plans to be a part of CafĂ© 1040 failed to succeed I was disappointed but I had a bit of hope that God would soon show me the next step. I should know by now that what is ‘soon’ to me is not always the same to God. Even though I had begun to feel like I had no place in the ministry, I miss it. I left church tonight wishing that I was coming home to work on mobilizing students for missions. I know that ministry is not limited to church and para-church organizations. I could write as many ‘ministry’ updates from my job at the skating rink as I could this time last year from a closed, Muslim country. The world is our mission field. As strangers on this planet, our very lives are ‘mission trips’. There is a need for evangelism and discipleship on every corner of this earth. I just wish that I new where I fit in. Where I would be most effective in my witness. I know people who seem to know exactly where they belong, what their passionate about, what they want to accomplish. They know what they are called to do and they do it. They make it look so easy. My heart beats for so many different things…unreached people, muslim women, college women, children, the poor. I just look at the people in the world who need God but don’t know it, who desperately need salvation and sanctification…I want to help them see that need. But I look at statistics like the two billion people who have never heard the gospel…two billion people…what difference can I make? It is so overwhelming.
So, once again I find myself in a time of waiting. However, this time it is different. My attitude is different. Instead of sitting down and waiting, I (like Ordinary) am walking forward and trusting. Believing. I cannot say that I have peace at every moment, or that I have not shed any tears (there have been countless over the past two months), but I can say that God works all things for our good, that He is trustworthy, and He is faithful to His promise to never leave me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Jonathan Edwards is My Homeboy"

This article from Christianity today will be available next week. A lot of people are talking about it. I got this tip from my sister and Justin Taylor also wrote about it on his "Between Two Worlds" blog ( I am interested to see what it says. I will post my thoughts after reading it. I would encourage you to check back with Justin Taylor's blog to see if he writes any more about it...his thoughts are worth reading! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 21, 2006

More to Come

I love blogs. One of my pet peeves is when people don't update their blogs...and here I am, updating for the first time in two weeks! Thanks for still checking in. There is definitely much more to come! I am going to start having a weekly Guest Writer and a Book of the Month. The past few weeks have been a bit difficult as I have tried to sort through my fears about the future. Since my time with Cafe 1040 has ended, I have been struggling with what to do next. I will write more on this later as well. Thanks for your prayers and support!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Return of the 80's

Tapered jeans. Who knew they would be back on the runway? I picked up a fashion magazine this week to see "what's hot and what's not for the fall". As I flipped through the pages it reminded me of the old Teen Bop magazines I use to get in the late 80's. Skinny jeans, military jackets, oversized sweaters...I thought it was a fashion nightmare! I know that styles seem to go in cycles. I was really happy when bell-bottoms were the 'in thing' again. While I try to keep up with what is popular, my style is usually just jeans and a plain, black t-shirt. Based on what is 'in' this fall, I think I will keep my 'plain Jane' look!

Friday, August 04, 2006

The End of the Road

I just sent this update to my family, friends and supporters. I may talk more about this later, but for now here is my latest news:

It has been almost one year since I left for my three month trip to North Africa. It is hard to believe how fast time has gone by and how much I have learned in this process. Last night I looked through my pictures of camel rides, trips to the souk, new friends...memories that I will never forget. There is one picture of me sitting inside a cave with Anna and Jonathan overlooking the ocean. I remember that moment well. Not being an adventurous person, I had been nervous about climbing down the small, narrow hole to the opening at the side of the cliff. However, I had made a promise to myself the night before (perfect timing) that I would always at least try what I was scared to do. Finally making it to the side of the cliff, I sat down to watch the ocean waves, firmly grasping the rocks around me! As I looked out over the roaring waters, I was filled with emotions. For the first time that I can remember, I was genuinely thankful for the gift of singleness. I knew then that it was a gift and not a curse. I was overwhelmed with the truth of God’s greatness and sovereignty. I believed more than ever that He is worth living and dying for. Needless to say, the whole experience changed my life. God used this program to stretch me to lengths I never thought possible.
It is hard to put into words what has happened over these last few months. Torn between sending and going, struggling to raise support to mobilize, not sure of my place with the ministry...the pieces were just not coming together. After much prayer I have come to the decision that it is time to stop raising support to go on staff with Cafe 1040. My elders and wise friends have affirmed what I am feeling. While I am very disappointed, I am hopeful about the future. I do not know what lies ahead, but I do know that “all my days were ordained when as yet there was not one of them” (Psalm 139: 16). I am resting in this truth and the truth that His plans cannot be thwarted. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. I cannot tell you how much it has meant to me.

I am still very supportive of the overseas program and plan on recruiting students even though I am not a "Student Recruiter". This has been a difficult desicion but I believe it was the right one for this time. We shall see what the future holds!!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Thanks to JRazz!!

My blog was having some technical difficulties (mostly for all you MAC users out there...which is better, MAC or PC?) So my genius friend Jeremy Rasnic did something late last night to fix it. Check out his web page for JRazz Creations

Thank you Jer!!

Rainy Saturday Mornings

I love mornings like this. Instead of jumping out of bed to fumble with my alarm clock I awoke to the sound of steady rain hitting my window. I got out of bed just long enough to get a cup of coffee and was disappointed to find that I was out of Amaretto's just not the same. Some people would consider this a gloomy day with nasty weather. I am just the opposite...I love sitting here on my bed watching the rain and listening to it run down the side of my house. It almost makes me feel like I am in a movie. Life just seems to slow down for a few minutes. For some reason, on days like this I am more quiet and thoughtful. It's easier for me to be still before the Lord, which is normally difficult. When I was little my sister, Melanie, and our cousin, Mandi and I would take our shampoo bottles outside and wash our hair in the rain! I am not sure how this 'game' started. Maybe my parents were trying to save on the water bill. However it started, it was always a blast. While I no longer wash my hair in the rain, I have to confess that I still like to splash around in large puddles. Great memories. I have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ready for Deployment!!

Our summer team is finishing up their adventure in North Africa. God has truly been at work in this group of college students. Over the past three months they have traveled many miles by train, bus and camel! They have seen the breath taking view from the top of a mountain. They have felt the victory of walking through the scorching heat of the Sahara (130 degrees!) More than that, they have prayer walked throughout the country and built relationships with local Arabs. God has broken their hearts for the unreached. They are coming home more in love with Him and more passionate about reaching the lost. Please pray for them as they finish their training and return home. (The reverse culture shock can be difficult. ) I believe that God is going to continue to use this radical group of students to impact the unreached for His glory. Eleven more graduates ready for deployment!! Praise God!!

The most exciting news of of the locals in our country is now a brother!!! Check out this blog spot to see a video of one of our students telling the whole story!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Getting on Board

Cowa Maharsa (Arabic for coffee with a little milk) I remember the first time I could order coffee by myself. The waiter grinned at the sound of his language mixed with my lovely Tennessee accent. As we sipped our coffee, my classmates and I talked about our first impressions of Arab culture and wondered what was in store for the rest of our journey. I had no idea then how much I would fall in love with the precious people of North Africa. I love the way they embrace eachother when they meet, how they touch their hand to their heart to show affection for a friend, and how their homes are always open to a stranger far from home. What was at first strange and foreign to me, slowly became both wonderful and normal. Coming home with excitment, confidence and renewed joy for life, I was eager and ready to send or to go. This has definatly been a conflit for me as it has been for many. I would love to be there and I would love to send others...and there is a need for both. My mentor with our program in North Africa told me that I have one set of hands. I can use them overseas, or I can use them to send many, many more to the unreached. My prayer is that my labors here will impact them just has much as if I were there among them. Oh how I want to put an end to the term "unreached people." It will happen...praise the Lord! He promised that the gospel will be preached to all the nations. Any time or money you invest in missions is not in vain, it is not a gamble. The promise is sure! I love this truth! As John Piper once said about evangelism, "You can either get on board and enjoy the triumph or cop out and waste your life."