The Shire and Australia

Something you probably don’t know about me is that I’m constantly writing unpublished blog posts. Sometimes I think they’re too personal or reveal too much of me. Being known by others is TERRIFYING. Am I right? Thus, most of my blog posts end up trashed or in a folder nobody knows about.

Because of this, I feel like there is so much to catch you up on. I ‘ve barely had time to process the last 2 months, so please forgive me if this post is a bit intimidating. Sorry.

These past few weeks have been absolutely out of this world insane. I spent my Thanksgiving holiday in New Zealand and Australia for my little brother’s graduation from Hillsong Bible College.

It was — for the lack of a better word — beautiful. I’ve known since the beginning of the year that I was going to Australia, but at the last minute, my parents decided that we were also going to New Zealand. You guys don’t even know how pumped I was. I have wanted to visit New Zealand since watching Lord of the Rings in middle school. I even put “Go on a Lord of the Rings tour” as one of my life goals.

Miraculously, I found myself right in The Shire.

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Right out of a fairytale

Right out of a fairytale

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There was a moment during The Shire tour when our guide made a turn onto a country road full of grassy, rolling hills. At this point, we had been driving for almost 2 hours so I was used to the majestic mountains, picturesque farmhouses, and quaint gardens. But when he put on the soundtrack to The Hobbit, I am not ashamed to say that I felt tears flood my eyes.

“I’m actually here. I did it. I’ve accomplished a life goal,” I thought.

It was surreal and all I could do was praise God for being so incredibly kind to me.

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We also visited Waiheke Island, which was stunning. Now, I’ve never been to Hawaii but Waiheke is how I imagine it. A couple days after leaving Waiheke, I saw Taylor Swift’s pictures on instagram and noticed that she had also just visited it. So crazy!

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A woman knitting

A woman knitting

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Auckland

Auckland

Don't know who they are but thought this shot was cool

Don’t know who they are but thought this shot was cool

Where I spent Thanksgiving dinner

Where I spent Thanksgiving dinner

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Australia was nice too but I have a special place in my heart for New Zealand. In Australia, my family and I mostly spent time at church services, as my dad spoke at 3 different churches and my little brother also graduated at a church. I also got to attend a Hillsong Youth Service to watch my little brother play in the band. Their services are rowdy! I felt like I was at a party.

One of the churches my dad spoke at

One of the churches my dad spoke at

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Visiting the Irwin's zoo

Visiting the Irwin’s zoo

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When we arrived back in the States, I immediately went to work before my family from Colorado and Oklahoma arrived for Christmas. I only had a week and spent most of it traveling from El Paso to Las Cruces for Cru meetings. I think I filled up on gas 3 times that week. My poor tires are annoyed with me.

Board games! Lots of board games!

Board games! Lots of board games!

My cousin Debbie and I

My cousin Debbie and I

First stop: Chico's Tacos

First stop: Chico’s Tacos

Candlelight service

Candlelight service

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I also got to play a fun little show at The Percolator! It was nice being able to hang around people who aren’t family. Sorry, mom.

Here’s some news: Two days before my family arrived, I decided to fill out an application for a Field Office Internship with IJM! I have been praying a lot about this decision and have felt so much peace about it. God has confirmed this decision in so many ways and I’m extremely excited about the prospect of being able to live in a foreign country for a year doing work with a non-profit. This has been my dream for years, but I never thought it would be possible. To be honest, I pretty much just wrote it off as never happening. But lately, I have felt like it’s time to do new things with my life and go new places. I’m not 100% sure what this will look like, but God has been more than faithful to me this far. Why shouldn’t He continue to be? I just hope I get accepted! If I don’t, well . . . then I guess there is a different opportunity for me. Whatever it is, I don’t want to make my decisions out of fear anymore.

I wish I could say I had time to relax before my family arrived, but let’s be real . . . that did not happen. Having 2 families stay in our house was just as fun as you’d think it’d be. I’m so blessed that I do not despise my family like so many do. I have been blessed to have a family I get along with. We played lots of board games and watched lots of movies. I think there was one day where we literally watched movies, ate cookies, and played games the ENTIRE day. That’s my kind of fun!

 

Finally, I ended December by attending Denver Christmas Conference, a conference apart of Cru with over a thousand college students. This year, I was able to hold a seminar about IJM with another intern. We spoke to roughly 40 students about IJM and God’s heart for justice. Only three years ago did I attend a seminar where someone spoke to me about IJM. Now, I was able to be the speaker! What a weird world.

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I was also able to help out on the DCC video team. I filmed a few shots and even edited the final recap video! The production team’s headquarters were in a suite stocked full of snacks and drinks. I’m not going to lie. It was pretty cool.

Editing

Editing

Meanwhile, the conference went well. A lot of the students made decisions to go on summer project, Cru’s summer missions program. There were students from my campus making decisions to apply for the Ivory Coast and South Asia projects. How incredibly great is it that this organization is changing people’s lives? I still can’t believe I get to be apart of it.

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Watching fireworks on NYE

Watching fireworks on NYE

Campus time

Campus time

Campus time games

Campus time games

Flash mob

Flash mob

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NMSU Cru 2013

NMSU Cru 2013

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This was my third time at DCC, and even though I was busy with behind the scenes projects most of the time, God still did a great work in my life. Here’s just a few of those many things:

During the first day of the conference, I felt completely burnt and stressed out. My teammate for IJM and I hadn’t met up to discuss our talk and I felt useless to the video team. In the midst of it all, God slapped me on the side of the head and said, “I’m not asking you to do things for me at this conference. I’m asking you to spend time with me.” It was such a revelation! Even though there are good things we can do because of God, His main purpose for our lives isn’t for us to perform — it is to be with Him. After this wake up call, I forced myself to stop and go into the main session to worship God. I knew that if I thought about all the things I needed to do, I would not only be stressed, but unhappy.

Everything started running smoothly after this.

Another thing God reminded me was how faithful He has been to me since I surrendered to him 3 1/2 years ago. He has taken me places I never thought I’d go. He’s allowed me to do jobs I never thought I’d do. And He’s given me peace through it all.

The last talk at DCC was by a man named Roger Hershey. He spoke on how surrendering to God means giving up your rights. Rights to success. Rights to security. Rights to time. Rights to everything.

Though I enjoyed all the talks, his talk really summed up DCC for me. When we give up our rights to God, God will give us back what He wants to give us. Now that 2014 has arrived, I want this year to be my year where I surrender and give up all my rights to God. Whatever He wants from me, cool. He has brought me here and will continue bringing me to Him in the days to come.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store! It’s going to be a good one, y’all!

Won’t you come with me on this journey? What are you hoping for in 2014?

Faith

4 thoughts on “The Shire and Australia

  1. I’m not sure how I came across your blog but I just wanted to say how AWESOME these picture are!! My husband and I have a dream of seeing New Zealand, especially Hobbiton! How awesome!!!! We have also dreamed of flying to Australia. God has def blessed you! I am excited to share these pictures with my hubby when he gets home 🙂 we shall vicariously live through you until we can go overselves, haha!
    -Katie
    http://www.hotteaandtheemptyseat.com
    🙂

  2. I’m not sure how I came across your blog but I just wanted to say how AWESOME these picture are!! My husband and I have a dream of seeing New Zealand, especially Hobbiton! How awesome!!!! We have also dreamed of flying to Australia. God has def blessed you! I am excited to share these pictures with my hubby when he gets home 🙂 we shall vicariously live through you until we can go overselves, haha!
    -Katie
    http://www.hotteaandtheemptyseat.com
    🙂

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