February 16, 2011

Spain & Babies.

In case you're wondering why I decided to title this blog post as is...well, I just got back from Spain, and my sister just had her baby. What could be better than that??

Spain was so beautiful! I was there for four days with four beautiful lady-friends. The weather was plus 18 and sunny. I got a little bit of a tan, what can I say? :)

And my older sister had her second girl, named Cadence Joy. She was 10 lbs and 4 oz. (Talk about fun times!) It's so exciting having a new little person enter into the world. God has little Cadence in the palm of His hand, and He's gonna do amazing things through her. I just know it!

I'm just extremely happy right now. I have a whole weekend ahead of me, with my only plans being to catch up on my Bible reading.

God bless!

February 9, 2011

Love or Lust?

Love can wait - Lust wants it now.
Love gives - Lust takes.
Love wants the best for the other - Lust wants the best for himself.
Love is tender - Lust is rude.
Love builds up - Lust breaks down.
Love sees the other - Love looks for itself.

"The purpose of marriage is living to glorify God by reflecting His design, and giving thanks to Him through it." :)

Those were just some notes taken from a recent lecture.

Today is our school's day of Prayer/Silence.

And tomorrow I am off to Spain for travel weekend!

February 3, 2011


What is this “outreach” I speak of? Well, this weekend for four days, my Singteam (Crosswalk Motives) along with a fellow drama team from my school packed up and drove 5 hours to a little village in Northern Bavaria called Neuenmarkt. We essentially reached out to people of all ages with our sermons, songs, and dramas, with the one prayer that we softened their hearts to the grace and love of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. I made it a point to journal my Outreach experience every night before bed with the intention that I could share with you about it on my blog. So here it is, with a few things edited. :)

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

You’ll never guess where I am right now! I’m on the 3rd floor attic of a little German house in a town called Neuenmarkt. Our Bodenseehof outreach team got split up and through the church we were dividing into staying with different host families. I’m not gonna lie, I love my host-family.
This is my 3rd outreach, but it is so incredibly different from the other ones. My first outreach took place at my school where 40 junior-high aged kids came and stayed for the weekend. This was difficult in that it was my very first outreach, I was so nervous, it was completely out of my comfort zone, and I also had to remind myself that I was technically on outreach and I couldn’t hide in my room or hang out with my normal Bode friends here. For my sing team’s second outreach, we drove 20 minutes and performed at a Sunday morning church service, and then participated in songs upstairs with the little Sunday school children. (This was the easiest one, since it only lasted a few hours) But this outreach is five hours away, for a whole weekend! Terrifying, right? WRONG. I’ll try to describe this in the best way I can…before my first outreach, I unfortunately have to admit that I was nervous and I was completely dreading it. After that weekend ended, I realized that I had no reason to dread such a thing, and long story short, it ended up being a GREAT weekend.
Today before we all took off to Neuenmarkt, Sarah and Jessica pulled me aside to pray and asked me, “so Jenny, what are you nervous about this time?” (Apparently their memories are sharp and remembered vividly how I was before my first outreach! Ha) And with a huge smile on my face I answered, “Honestly…there’s nothing. I’m not scared or nervous about anything.” I really couldn’t believe those words were coming out of my mouth. I felt completely at peace about everything; and this my friends, is what God’s peace looks like. But I told them, “Can you guys just pray that I will remember that this weekend isn’t about me, or my singteam, or the songs…and that it’s all about God? I just need the reminder that God knows every word that will be said and that He is in control.”

When we arrived at the church in Neuenmarkt, we were greeted with German mineralwasser, apfelshorle drinks, and authentic German pastries. Then we had our very first session with Konfi-Kids (13, 14 year olds). It went very well. We opened up with some songs (which amazingly enough, I wasn’t nervous at all for), the drama team performed some dramas, a member from our team shared their testimony, one of our leaders preached a little sermon (I wish these sermons could have been translated into English!), and then we played some games and just chilled. Good news is that my voice is pretty much back, and I can sing normal again! PTL! (Praise the Lord! Haha)

After that session we all headed back to our host families, and my host-mama made lasagna for me! How sweet! Eating dinner with them was interesting; I attempted my best German, and they attempted their best English. Sometimes we definitely couldn’t understand each other…but I definitely did understand when she mentioned that her 22 year old son owns every episode of Mr. Bean. Oh man, you should have seen my face light up!! :D
We then spent the rest of the evening with our outreach team back at the church just chilling and making pizza. (Germans put corn on their pizza, how strange…yet tasty) It was nice just hanging out and bonding with my team. For the rest of this outreach I just pray that I will honor God with everything I do and say…especially with the words that come out of my mouth. I need to remember that the whole reason for outreach is to REACH OUT to lost hearts and to share Christ with them!
Even though I sit here alone on this pink bed, with pink sheets, a pink pillow, pink blanket, and a pink lamp, (how did they know I loved pink?!) in this strange house in this strange country, I don’t feel alone. Thank you Jesus for being here with me and for never letting go of my hand. That’s one thing I’ve learned...if ever you’re feeling distant from God and you don’t feel like talking with Him, just THANK him. Thank Him for his protection, and thank Him that His Holy Spirit lives in you. :)
(the view from my house)

Friday, January 28th, 2011

It’s 11:30 PM and let me tell you, today was THEE longest day of my life. Not that it wasn’t an awesome day or anything, it was just slow. This morning I woke up at 7 AM to have breakfast with my host-fam. And it’s just kind of funny because they were all finished eating before I even started, so they just sat there awkwardly and stared at me as I indulged in my Nutella toast. Oh the joys of the language barrier!
At 8 PM the outreach team met at the local middle school and we went into different classrooms to perform for them. In one classroom, I was interviewed by one of the leaders (while being translated) with questions like, “what was your home life like?”, “What were you doing before you came to Bodenseehof?”, “why did you come to Bodenseehof?”. Usually in those kinds of situations where all eyes are on you and the spotlight is only on you, my heart starts to race…but I just felt like God was feeding me every single word on a spoon. It was wonderful. My singteam performed in two classrooms; one class only had like 8 kids. The other one was about a more average/normal sized classroom filled with grade 9ers. As I was standing in front of them I had flashbacks of when I was in Grade 9…when my biggest concern was eyeliner and the boy sitting in front of me. I just felt like I knew exactly what was going through those teenage girls’ minds and I wanted so badly to scream it in their ears that there is so much more to life than that!! But all I could do at that point was to just pray a silent prayer that God would open up their hearts to what we came there to do.
On our singteam is a boy who is tall, blonde, fluent in German and English, and is American. So after we were done singing, you can only imagine how all the little teen girls FLOODED him and got his Facebook account out of him. It was funny to see.
Then a girl on my team and I bonded over our love of books, and she recommended 10 books to me: the Mark of the Lion series, The Three Musketeers, The Other Boleyn Girl, Jane Eyre, Tess of The Durbeville’s, Gone With The Wind, Wuthering Heights, Vanity Fair, Emma, Pride & Prejudice, The Help, and Inkheart. (I am so excited to spend all my summer reading these books!!)
We had free time that afternoon so I went over to my friend Katie’s host families house where she and I attempted to skype some friends back at school, but we eventually just had a really good talk while snuggling in bed. (cuddle puddle!)

At 4:30 we had a session with the Kids-Club, which was ages 9-13 (the funnest age!!) We played hilarious games and sang awesome kids songs. I don’t know why, but I really enjoy those kids songs with the actions…they make me feel young again…I guess…

After all the children left, our team got together for a time of talking and prayer. I was told that I’d be sharing my testimony tonight, and for some odd reason I just felt so disheartened and sick to my stomach. Maybe it’s because it felt like a big deal to me, since 3 people prayed for me right then and there. Maybe it was because I couldn’t find a grasp for my words and didn’t know how to prepare for it. Or maybe it’s just because I don’t have the easiest life story…and it’s hard to share it at times. My team members could definitely read the uneasiness on my face after that. I found myself upset at God for giving me this story, and I just wished that God would have given me just a boring and simple testimony. But then I was mad at myself because that’s such a selfish and disrespectful thing to wish for. I mean, my life story isn’t mine; it’s Gods, and I need to share it with the world so that I can honour Him with it. After having already shared my testimony last November with my school, and then again with my K-group at the beginning of this week…I have realized that only good things have come out of sharing my life story. With this story that God has given me, he has allowed for me to inspire and encourage others, and honestly, that’s all I want.
We proceeded to the other church in Wirsberg where we had our youth event, and I shared my testimony. It was an interesting experience, because I’d say a few lines, and then a leader from my team would translate into German. It’s good because while he was translating, then I could use that time to think of my next sentence! I really feel like God has made me into a new person because the first time I ever shared my testimony I was so nervous I could have thrown up right then and there! But God has really given me a whole new perspective on it all, and it’s like he pulled every nerve from my body…leaving me nerve…less. (ha) What I’ve learnt about testimonies is that you can’t just share that you grew up in a Christian home and then list all your tragedies, tears, struggles, and then leave it at that. It needs to end with encouragement and how God has been working in your life to get you where you are now.
As I sit here on my bed, I don’t know if my testimony did have an effect on anyone at that youth event tonight. I don’t know their hearts. But what I do know is that God knows their hearts and it’s not my job to work in them, it’s His job.
Dear God, I pray that you will give me the strength and the patience to live in the here and the now. And even though today was extremely long and exhausting, I thank you for it. I thank you for holding my hand while I shared my testimony, and I pray that tomorrow the people will see your light shining in us, and that through us, You will change their hearts.

Saturday, January 29th, 2011.

This morning I got to sleep in until 8:30! (Woohoo!!) And my host-parents 24 year old daughter came home for the weekend from University and her English is SO good. She is super sweet, and with her English to German language help, I was able to share a bit of my life story with my host-family. Their 22 year old son has a brain disorder and so I asked them if he was a Christian. And they really didn’t know; they’re not sure if his brain is able to ponder or reflect on stuff like that. I’ll admit that this kind of saddened me, but I know that he is in God’s hands, so I don’t need to be afraid.

I met with my singteam at the church for a nice long practice session. And we ended up writing a song and coming up with a melody together. It was so cool! I felt like I was part of a real band, like we we were on tour jamming in the tour bus. (In my head: so this is what Taylor Swift feels like everyday!) I’m just gonna say right now that I absolutely love my sing-team! They are so talented, and it’s such a blessing to be a part of it.

The pastor of the church insisted that we eat at a restaurant with an Austrian cook in Wirsberg, so that’s exactly what we did. We all packed into one booth and indulged in THEE most amazing hot chocolate in the world. It was literally like a cup of melted dark chocolate, extremely thick and creamy. (and because of my massive sweet tooth, I had to add sugar…) Then they served us this HUGE pot of what resembled chunks and pieces of sweet pancake/breaded stuff, which on top you pour warm blueberry sauce. It was PHENOMENAL!!

We then had another Kids-club session with little 7-9 year olds, and they were all so cute! I love singing German children songs!

After that, we headed back to the church in Neuenmarkt where we had time to just relax and chill. Thankful, I went upstairs into a super warm and cozy room with dim lighting and couches. As I journaled, my friend Bailey sang and played songs she’s written on the guitar, and then she’d tell me what each song meant. I was definitely in my happy place.
After another youth event ended that night, I stayed at the church that night until past 11:30 (thankfully my host-fam gave me a key to their house!), played soccer in the basement, drank milkshakes, gave hand massages (yes, it’s a new talent that I have discovered!), and then...my favorite part of the evening…doing aerobics to Taylor Swift. (Without a doubt I was in my element)

And well…God did it again. I’ll have to admit that before the youth event tonight, I just felt so exhausted and emotionally drained. The last thing I felt like doing was standing up in front of a crowd again, and singing the same songs AGAIN. So I was pretty convinced that tonight was gonna be a flop. But God is awesome and it turned out to be great, and my mood DID get better. I came home to a Alpenmich Rittersport chocolate bar on my bed with a note saying “We heard you liked German chocolate! :)” Yes, I may or may not have let it slip that I LOVE Germany for its chocolate. I am female…can you blame me? My host-mama also told me that she baked a chocolate cake for me that we’re gonna eat when I wake up tomorrow morning. I was excited beyond words! But at the same time, I felt absolutely awful because here they’re all so sweet giving me chocolate, feeding me breakfast, baking me cakes, driving me places, providing me with a warm and toasty bed, when I don’t have anything to give them in return. And the only time I see them is for half an hour at breakfast everyday! I really do wish I had more time with them.
I can’t believe that tonight is my last night here! Time flies! I’m very, very excited to get back to the school. It’s crazy how much you miss the people after just one measly little weekend.

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Kaiser-Schmarrn! That is the name of that super yummy dish we ate yesterday at that Austrian restaurant! I can’t forget it, just in case my Mom wants to make it for me one day. :) (hee hee)
This morning I hate the chocolate cake with my host-fam, which was called Marmel-kuchen and it was delicious. (two pieces later…haha)
The drama team stayed upstairs and lead the kids program, while the sing team performed at the church service with the older audience. This church we performed in was super old, made completely out of stone, so it was freezing! I literally could see my breath at times! But it was an absolutely gorgeous church though, and the pews were packed too, which was great!
Before each of our sessions, our team is told to introduce ourselves. So today when I did my usual, “Hallo, ich bin Jenny! Ich komma aus Kanada, und ich bin zwanzig jahre alt!” (Hello my name is Jenny. I’m from Canada and I’m 20 years old.), my host-family cheered for me because they liked hearing my German. Haha.

Being on outreach is such a good thing, because it reminds me that I’m actually living in Germany. At my school, you easily forget this because practically all the students are either American or Canadian, so you just feel like you’re in North America. And all of the German/Swiss/Australian/Ethiopian/Korean/and Indian students feel like they’re living North America. It’s funny actually… so living with my host family in a cute little German town really brought me back down to earth.
After the church service, the pastor gave us all gifts (amazing German chocolate!), and we just took tons of photos: photos with our host families, photos with the kids, and photos with our outreach team. While saying goodbye to my host family, I got their address because I want to send them a little gift in the mail. I don’t want to forget about them and I want to somehow thank them for everything they have provided me with this weekend! I’m so very grateful!
Then we all hopped into our cars and headed back to the school. We also ate at McDonalds which was OH SO GOOD, and not to mention, paid for by our school.

To reflect on this weekend, it was an absolutely amazing experience! I never in a million years would have pictured myself to be the singer on a sing team, performing in front of German kids in German towns in GERMANY, spreading the love of Christ! It’s also amazing to really feel like I no longer have confidence in myself, but I have confidence in God who strengthens me. As I said before, it’s like He’s taken all the nerves from my body and he filled me with his Holy Spirit completely. Anyway, I really do pray that we made a difference in their hearts. And even if it was just one person, then that’s good enough, because God is in control!

And when I returned back to school, I was welcomed with many loving hugs and empty drawers (Sarah and Jessica took ALL of my clothes and hid them all over the school with riddles and clues attached to each article of clothing.) And then my K-group got together around the fire for some stick-bread! (Dough wrapped around a stick, placed over a fire, then after baked, it’s removed from the stick and FILLED with Nutella that oozes out and drips all over your clothes) What a fantastic weekend!! :)

Thank you so much for reading, and please feel free to comment or ask questions on anything you’ve read here!

“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16

February 1, 2011


For every time I insecurely say, “Jesus, I am not…”; He says to me, “So what! I AM.” So the next time you think you have an excuse as to why God cannot use you, think of these:

Noah got drunk.
Abraham was too old.
Sarah had stopped ovulating.
Isaac was a day dreamer.
Jacob was a liar.
Leah was ugly.
Judah committed incest.
Joseph was abused.
Moses murdered (So did David and Paul)
Moses stuttered, tended sheep, and died too young.
Barak was a wimp.
Deborah was a woman.
Gideon was afraid.
Samson had long hair.
Jephthah’s mother was a prostitute.
Hoseah’s wife was a prostitute.
Rahab was a prostitute.
David was too young (so were Jeremiah and Timothy)
David had a nervous breakdown and an affair.
The ravens were unclean.
The book Cherith ran dry.
The widow at Zerephath was dying.
Elijah was suicidal.
Elisha was bald.
The axe-head was sunk.
Jeremiah was depressive.
Isaiah had a foul mouth and preached in the nude.
Daniel was locked in with lions.
Jonah ran away.
Naomi was a widow.
Job lost his children, his health, and his wealth.
John the Baptist ate bugs.
Peter had a bad temper, a big mouth and broke his promise.
John was self-righteous.
The disciples fell asleep.
Matthew was a thief.
Thomas doubted.
Simon was fanatical.
Nathanael was cynical.
Martha was a worry wart.
Mary was lazy.
Mary Magdalene was demon-possessed.
The little boy only had 5 loaves and 2 fish.
The woman had Sychar had been sleeping around.
Zaccheus was too short.
The colt that Jesus rode was a Jackass (and some of His disciples are too)
Simon was just a by-passer
Paul was single, a prisoner, and a poor speaker.
Philip disappeared.
Mark quit.
Timothy had ulcers.
And Lazarus was dead.

So…what’s your excuse?
God does not use us because of who we are, but in spite of who we are! “That no man should boast before God.” 1 Corinthians 1:29