Plus Belle La Vie

A More Beautiful Life

Category: Wales

Some Things are Hard

As of right now I am on my trek from Llanelli, Wales to Marseille, France.

The last few days have been very hard for me emotionally. Yesterday, I found out that a woman that used to be my neighbor, my mothers friend, the mother of my brothers best friend, just a great person to be around had passed away. I had recieved this news right after giving a presentation/speech on what I will be doing in Marseille.

My trainer took me aside to tell me this news. Before this, I was smiling and so full of joy, as I was ready for this new adventure. When she told me she recieved a email from my mother, I knew. There was something awfully wrong. She said there was a death. I laughed in her face because I couldn’t believe what she had just said. She told me the name and I stared at her. Just sat there staring at her. Then I just started to sob. It was true.

I fixed my hair, dried my tears, and drank the rest of my coffee. They told me to take as much time as I needed, I didn’t have to go to class. 

I smiled at them, thanked them for their curtesys  and went up stairs to my joined room. Once the door closed behind me I fell to my knees and sobbed again. Questions flooded my mind. My mother must be in pain. My family must be heartbroken. What can I do from so far away? Her children are now orphans. What will happen next? Why now?

I picked myself off the floor and went for a walk outside. I didn’t make it far, I hadn’t told my teammates yet. So I just sent them a text “I need your help…”. They came running, no coats on out into the cold wet weather of Llanelli. For over an hour we talked and prayed and ate cake and walked.

They supported me during this hard time. 

Today, I talked with my bestfriend back home. She told me that her mother is in the hospital and has been there for awhile now. This broke me more. How can so much tragedy be happening when I am a ocean away, countries away, time zones away? There is nothing I can do.

One of my trainers came to me after hearing this news and told me that I was a strong person. She said that it showed real character for someone to pick themselves up and to just move forward. What she didn’t know is before she walked into the room I had been crying for a good 30 minutes. Kind of pitieing all of these situations.

I saw all of this because, yes, it is fun being overseas, it is fulfilling to serve the Lord, but it is also hard. You learn a whole new level of trust in the Lord.

You trust that he will put his arms around your family, since you can’t.

You trust that his ways are perfect and there is a time for all things. No, I do not know why. But I do know this, that my God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and he loves his children dearly.

You, also, realize that life doesn’t stop when you leave. Things are constantly changing and growing. Babies being born, people getting sick, others getting married, people experiencing joys, and others experiencing sorrows.

There will be more challenges in France. I will miss things back home, but I will be finding new joys in new places.

Please, pray for my family, Jackie Haas’ Family, my bestfriends – Aliyah – mother, and me. Thank you.

The Little Things

I am now back in Wales for a few days finishing up some last minute details for my stay in France (I will be back in France on the 14th of January).

During my last 4 months, I have seen different characteristics of God.

A recurring one is the fact that he loves me and listens/cares for even the little things that I pray for.

With traveling I am not guaranteed much. A place the charge my phone, a nice place to sleep, food that is familiar(or food period), someone that speaks my language, a nice person, etc.

To be honest I have mini heart attacks every time I start traveling. Fears start arising. “What if I miss the bus?” “What if it doesn’t even come?”, “What if my plane is delayed, which means that I miss my bus.”, “what if…”, “what if…”, “what if…”.

In Lakeland, I didn’t have these kind of fears. I had a lot of certainty. If my car broke down I could call my parents. If my parents couldn’t come, then my grandparents would. I see now that I took those things for granted. They didn’t have to do that and many people around the world don’t have people in their lives to do that for them.

I don’t have certainty 100% of the time now. Certainty is not a everyday guarantee, but there is one thing that I am certain of now when times get complicated. That God is with me. That he listens to my prayers and he soothes my fears.

Many, many times, I have been afraid of different things going on. But God shows me that he is in control of the situations.

When leaving Italy I had purchased train tickets to leave from Avigliana to Torino, Torino to Savona, then Savona to Marseille on the 19th of December. Well, I missed the train from Torino to Savona, but luckily for me Jim (the missionary in Italy that I was staying with) was with me. He told me as we got off the train that the Italians are not known for their customer service. So as we were walking up to the customer service counter I prayed intently for a nice understanding gentlemen.
That is what we got.

When our number was chosen, a very nice man helped us sort it out, I would have to leave the next day, but it was sorted.

The next day, I missed the first train from Avigliana to Torino.
Truns out the train schedule for a sunday is different than the other days of the week.
Again, luckily for me Jim and Lori were at their home so they drove me to Torino in just enough time to catch the train to Savona.

With that… I had no idea what train it was that I was to take to Savona. I ran over the the customer service area – praying that the man that helped me the day before was there. He was. So I walked straight up to him. He told me to train. I found it. Got on it and sat down.

For me, just the fact that God put different things in my life to help me through the challenge was a blessing, as well as, the fact that he answered my prayers, even the little ‘petty’ ones.

There has been so many other occasions that he has answered my prayers.

From this I have learned that God loves each of us and he answers our prayers (with a yes, a no, or even a it is not time yet).

I feel very blessed to have this certainty, when nothing else is. I am grateful to have such a loving and compassionate God.

Pray for me as I make my way back to France on Wednesday and live there for the next 6 months.

“So, Have you been to a castle?”


Have you ever dreamed of being a princess and living in a castle? Or being a prince or knight and going off to battle or to save a princess?

I have.

Since living in Wales for about 3 months, I have heard it has its fair share of castles, but I haven’t really had the chance to visit one. With all of the training and traveling my team and I don’t go very far on our days off.

Just last week, Wil (is assigned to the same church as me in Llanelli) and I were invited to go see a castle. Of course like anybody from the States that have always fantasizes about castles we didn’t hesitate to agree to the proposition.

Today we saw not just one castle but two.

Like any other day in Wales since we came back from India it was wet, windy, and chilly. This weather though didn’t stop me, Wil, David, and Annelies afternoon.

When we arrived to the first castle we were told we couldn’t go inside because the wind was to strong and we might be blown away. We ended up just walking around the outside of the castle.



After walking around outside we decided we should go to another one. We drove until we found another one.We walked up this muddy path to the castle, thinking we just may be blown away. The wind was so strong.

We climbed through this structure that is older than my country and looked at what was made a long time ago and how it has endured many years of history.

The view from the castle was exquisite. For miles you could see houses, sheep, rivers, etc. Annelie was cold from all of the wind so we started our trek back down to the car.

Since we were all kind of chilly David asked if we wanted to get some hot chocolate. We agreed. So off we went in search for a cafe.

The first place we went to had just closed. (@ 4pm)

The second place closed. (@ 4pm)

Then we had given up hope we found a Starbucks and finally got a nice hot cup of hot chocolate and some sweets.

As David was driving Wil and I home to meet up with the rest of our team. I was asking Annelie if she enjoyed the afternoon at the castles. She said yes. I then asked if she enjoyed imaging being a princess in the castles. She said yes. Then a few minutes past and she grabbed my hand and said “We are best friends.”

This was such a sweet moment for me; as well as, a sad moment. I know I won’t be here in Wales much longer, but atleast I have the honor of being best friends with a 4 year old little girl named Annelie.

He’s Still Working On Me

Development Training (DT) week.

The most emotionally and physically destructive week of my life.

I didnt think that would be the case. The week before people were so happy, Oh, you are going on DT next week., That was my favorite week., We really grew as a team that week. With statements like this I thought it would be more class work, but it wasnt. On Monday we hit the ground running literally.

We were thrust into a situation that none of us really understood we were given an objective and were told that we needed to complete it and in order to complete it we would have to endure different tasks and overcome them as a team.

Monday morning and afternoon, we spent the whole morning discussing the task and attending different meetings to understand the safety side of things. Around 10 oclock that night it was over. We had a reflection as a team, as our trainers sat in on our discussion. The trainers wrote down various things we said and was observing how we acted under pressure.

Around 11 oclock I jumped in the shower in our communal bathroom and started to wash my hair and to really reflect on the day from a personal stand point. As I was rinsing out my shampoo and just applying my conditioner, Sue (a fellow trainee) ran into the bathroom screaming for me to get out of the shower. Confused, with conditioner in my hair I jumped out of the shower, put on my bathrobe and ran upstairs to put on warm clothes. We had 5 minutes to get to the lake and our mission was to form a search party for a man who had broken his leg. This whole time, I was angry. Why would someone make us do this? Why now? Do they not know what time it is? There is still conditioner in my hair!!

After this challenge was over, I went back to the shower and finished up, as I was in the shower I started to sob. I started to question the purpose of this training. The purpose of evening being here. My fellow female trainees heard me crying and urged me to dry up and put on my pajamas. I did. In the bathroom they each held me in their arms telling me that this week was only temporary and that God would reveal the purpose soon. I was broken. I missed my bed, my home, my friends, my own shower, and my previous comforts. That night I was ready to drop everything and be on a plane back home, but by the encouragement of my peers I re-evaluated my purpose, and that is To go to France and to tell these lost and discouraged people about the joy and satisfaction of being in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The next few days after were easier, my team felt stronger and my faith was more firm. I did what I was told and pushed myself through every obstacle, which included hiking for a cumulative 20 km, abseiling, climbing, building and launching a rafting, mapping, backpacking, pitching a tent, and so much more.

Through all of this my team and I were being evaluated. Different quotes of ours were noted and at the end of the week were recanted to us in private discussions.

During my private discussion, I didnt speak much and only listened. They told me I was naturally servant-hearted and needed to be confident in myself. Hearing these two things made me die laughing on the inside.

For those who know me know this. I am a prideful person, I am bossy, and I have much of the dictator personality. My biggest struggle has always been being a servant. Ever since I was young I prayed that God would soften my prideful heart and make me more of a servant. I prayed he would make me more personable and kind.

With hearing this I laughed originally but later praised God, because this just proves his faithfulness. He has been working on me slowly but surely. He has been patient with me and now people see it. They see it. I may not feel it all the time, but God has been shaping me into his servant.

I learned this week that even at your lowest God raises you up. He puts people in your life to encourage you.

I, also, learned that he is faithful to his people. (This made me think of the song Hes Still Working on Me.“)

As I feel tired and miss my home, I am learning that God is enough and that he provides for his children. I am blessed through and by these challenges.
Continue to pray for me.

Seeing Things Clearly

Before I left the United States, I went to the eye doctor so he could prescribe me prescription lenses so that I could actually see things at a distance (i.e. Billboards, Road Signs, Speed limit signs, etc.). On Wednesday, September 23, I received a package in the mail with my brand new glasses. I was so excited to finally see the board and the beautiful hills in the distance clearly. Once I put them on I felt joy, I didn’t have to squint. I could experience things like everyone else could. No longer did I have to say, Sorry, I do not know what it says.”
I mention this not only because I want you to rejoice with me, but to tell you that I am starting to see the world more clearly. Every day I am slapped in the face with culture, differences, and uncertainty.
I wake up at 06:30 and it is freezing, absolutely cold. This is something I am not used to living in the hot climate of Florida. I do not want to get out of my not very warm bed and go down stairs to do my quiet time, but I do it. I roll out of bed put on my slippers and head down the stairs and start my day. When you are living in a community, it is hard to find time to myself, so that 30 – 45 minutes in the morning just to breathe my own air and be with God is so nice, it makes living in a cold climate easier.
There is no privacy living together. We cook together, have classes together, clean together, and overall are ALWAYS TOGETHER. The first 2 weeks it was fun. Don’t get me wrong it still is, but it is also hard. With this you learn about yourself and you learn about how you cope with others.
Today, I not only saw the world around me clearly, but I saw relationships clearly as well. The British have a strong sarcastic sense of humor, which isn’t bad, but for someone who is going through some culture shock it can be slightly offensive. I have been offended a few times this week by things that normally wouldn’t hurt me. I even took my British roommate, Hannah, for a walk to address some of my concerns, by the love of Christ she was understanding and receptive of my concerns.
World Horizons as a whole is very diverse in regards to culture, I live with British people, a French guy, a Mexican girl, A Texan, a guy from Alabama, and a Chinese woman. But it is not just that, I have classes with Koreans, Germans, Brazilians, and so many other cultures. I enjoy learning about all of our differences, but it can be overwhelming.
Luckily, though our classes consist of how to integrate in a culture, and today we discussed culture shock. I thought I was doing good until I looked at the range and realized that I was in the DISTRESS stage, which is when little things upset me or make me cry, that noting is like my home and makes me miss it that much more.
These challenges are making me to turn to God as my comfort and strengthen me during these endeavors without my comforts of home.
I miss my home, my family, my friends, my memories, etc.
Then again, I adore this place, these people, this community, these eye opening lessons, these experiences that are just full of Gods love, and the sun in between the rain.
Continue to keep me in your prayers

 

Most Embarrassing Moment Thus Far

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Every Friday and Sunday, Wil, a fellow Gapper from Alabama, and I go to our assigned church. This past Sunday and Friday were our 1st times.
On Sunday, we had a great experience with a church called Emanuel and Bethansia, which is a Welsh and English speaking combined church. Sunday’s the congregation is mostly filled with people older that 50 and on Fridays there is a Children’s Church kind of affair where the kids do various activities and have to opportunity to learn some bible stories.
Well, yesterday was mine and Wils first time going, we were dropped off by our leaders and left wondering “where do we meet with the pastor and his family?” As we watch them drive off to go tour a chapel, Wil and I realize that we have no idea what we are doing or where we are supposed to meet.
So we try the front door, LOCKED.
We try a side door, LOCKED.
We try the other side door, LOCKED.
With that we see that their is a building attached to the church so I decide that we should check it out.
We walk to the front of the door and it is slightly ajar. So I think, “Oh they left the door open for us so that we would know where to go.”
I open the door and am the first person to step inside, I regret my decision as soon as it happens. I see stairs, the washer machines, a couch. Then I see a older man sitting on said couch staring at me like “who the heck are you?” I feel Wil try to push me inside more, as I attempt to retreat.
The only thing that comes out of my mouth… “Is this the church?” I knew it wasn’t but I didn’t know what else to do.
He looks at me like “heck no.” And says “this is my house. the church is next door.”
I smile and push wil out the door.
I am trying to rationalize this but all I am doing is laughing.
I had just walked into a mans house in a country that I am not even close to familiar with, what can possibly be more embarrassing than that.

Later, that evening when everyone was back at our house after their out reaches, I tell them the story.
Everyone dies. The Americans laugh, the Mexican girl is hysterical, the British people practically fall on the floor, and the French guy just stares at me like “Oh my gosh, who would do that.”

So needless to say, this is one of the many mistakes I have made since being here. More stories to come.

 

Lakeland to Llanelli

On Sunday morning I woke up with the knowledge that it was time. Oddly enough there was a certain peace about the whole situation, I had no fear about getting on the plane and leaving my country. I didn’t even shed a single tear the entire time.

My mother, father, sister, and best friend are the ones that took me to the airport and stood watching me ’till I went through the security line and was completely out of their vision.

After I got on the plane then landed in D.C. I was waiting in the lobby area and met a Welsh gentleman along with a gentleman from London. They spoke with me about different English and Welsh things. It was very insightful and got me exited for my new adventure. The Englishman helped me with my luggage. I had warned him that it was heavy and when he picked it up he almost dropped it.

After the 7 and a half hour plane ride was over, I landed in Heathrow – London and attempted to find my “coach”, which is basically a greyhound bus. While waiting in the lobby area for my bus to arrive I met a Welsh lady and her daughter, Catrin. They were so kind by entertaining me with conversation and welcoming me to the UK. As we were talking we discovered that we were taking the same coach and decided to sit by each other as we traveled, me to Swansea and them to Cardiff.
While we were on the coach my stomach started to growl and I was just utterly exhausted from traveling, they gave me 2 cereal bars and bid me farewell as they got off. God truly blessed me during this transition by giving me kind people to talk to and interact with.

By the time I arrived in Swansea, I was exhausted and just wanted to arrive and settle into my new room. I was also tired of hearing the English accent, which I once found attractive.

When I arrived here I was excited to have a warm welcome in this beautiful town. I settled into my room and with my first roommate Maritza (USA), we would later be welcomed by Hannah (England), Sabrina (Mexico), and Julie (China).

Also, I learned that i had been pronouncing this towns name wrong. I will post a Welsh person pronouncing it correctly.

The UK visa Process

I had known since the beginning of my decision to go on this trip that I would need to get a UK Visa. The price to obtain one, the patience it would take to wait for a approval, and the complex for of personal questions I needed to complete, were even in my mind. I assumed that I would magically have a VISA appear on my desk as soon as it came time to buy plane tickets.
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That my dear friends is not the case. As soon as June hit it was time to apply for a Visa, I had completed the entire application and paid the $350 for just the application itself. My advisors informed be that I also needed to pay for a insurance surcharge which cost another $320, but I didn’t want to pay that till my next pay check in two weeks. Well the two weeks passed and my paycheck came in and I was excited to pay for my health insurance surcharge, but the UK changed their application process so I had to apply for a refund and start from scratch, in this process you had to pay your surcharge before the application cost (which went up $10). I needed my application ASAP so a total of $680 came out of my account that day, to be honest I cried a little for a girl that likes to get the greatest quality for the cheapest price to see that money leave my account all at the same time it was pretty sad.
So that week I went in for a biometric exam. It was so cool! I had my fingerprints scanned, a picture taken, and my signature noted. With that I mailed out my application with USPS for next day delivery. I was so excited, I kept a eye on my package online and noticed that it hadn’t arrived at the right time. It was missing. Freaking out allure because It had special documents inside I called USPS. They found my package and delivered it, I also got a refund which saved me money, but not necessarily time.
Once the package was received it would take 14 business days for a response, lucky for me it took only  11.
On August 7, I found out that my Visa had been approved and would be sent to me shortly.
And am I happy to say that it is here.

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Welcome to My Blog

Hello, all. I have made this website for my friends and family to stay posted on my life as I go off this year. Starting this fall I will be getting on a plane and flying overseas to go through missionary training. While I am away there will be a five (5) hour time difference, nine (9) hour and thirty (30) minute time difference, and a six (6) hour time difference. I hope that this website will close the gap between my loved ones and myself. This website provides a way for everyone to read from my blog page the same story the same way, as I won’t have the time to call each person individually everyday. I expect that this next year will be a extreme challenge and will test my faith more than any other point in my life.

I have attempted to make this website easy to utilize and have the capability to answer all of your questions thoroughly. If you still have more questions you can contact me via the contacts page.

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