Over and Over

I’m standing on the edge again….

I’m standing on the edge of, everything I know
Comfort is behind me, I’ve got to let that go
There’s freedom in the free fall, when I’m falling into you
God knows where I’m going, maybe I don’t have to

I lay me down at the altar
Over and over, over and over
From fear to faith, I surrender
Over and over, over and over

You take all my questions, as they’re wrestled to the ground
Patiently You guide me, You’re so good, beyond what I see now, oh
I don’t have all the answers, trust is what I need
My comfort is in knowing, You’re right here, You’re right here next to me

My heart has been anxious for the unknown of the future and the ministry challenge that I have sensed God has put before me… as I was prayer walking and asking God for confirmation, this song flowed through my playlist.  And hit me at my core.  Yes God, I choose to trust you.  Trust is all I need.

I’m standing on the edge of,

As I started off this semester I was hoping to just have some students to meet with face to face yet my expectations have been exceeded.  I find myself at the edge of the cliff again, wondering if God is asking me to take another leap of faith.  I see the sea of opportunity and the deep needs of these students.  I sense Him asking me not to be complacent with where we are and what is known but to trust Him for more. And as I wonder and pray through this, I heard this song for the first time and it spoke confirmation to me…

                                        Everything I know.

Comfort is behind me,

Am I to aim to live into comfort or move out of comfort?  To pursue God and pursue the life He is calling me toward.  Comfort isn’t just the materialistic things around us or the security in the future. He calls me to put comfort behind me and radically pursue the Kingdom.  It’s not just the areas of unreached people in the corners of the world that can be uncomfortable.  We are to push past our comfort here as we expand our reach on campus and in the community.  My flesh craves to just keep things at a level that I can manage on my own.

                                       I’ve got to let that go.

There’s freedom in the free fall,

This blog was named trustfall as I knew to step into ministry as vocation there would be many, many areas that would be unknown to me.  And I would have to step into the unknown, to stand on the cliff and let myself free fall into the abyss below.  That abyss has been full of a journey with so many other people and growth on all sides.   A journey of trusting God in the unknown and knowing that He provides in ways that I don’t see coming as He expands His Kingdom.  The gospel is for everyone and we are to be about this mission both near and far.  He has taken me far, He has brought me near and He continues to give me vision for what could be . To look over the cliff and know He is there.

                                                When I’m falling into you.

God knows where I’m going

I’m three years into visioning here, growing and expanding.  My flesh tells me to look back and reflect over these last three years.  To not expend myself more and take on more.  My reality tells me it’s 2020 which has been anything but a predictable year and leaves us with more unknowns in the future than I could ever think or imagine.  Yet the Knower within me will not rest.  It keeps me awake at night urging me to not become complacent or satisfied with the past. He knows the future

Maybe I don’t have to.

And so, as I finish out this 2020 year of ministry, my heart is overflowing as I move from fear to faith, as I surrender.  As I lay out the future once again on the altar.  Over and over again.  I feel like I have been asked to surrender the future and just trust in the freefall.  And because He has been faithful over the last twenty years of pursuing this freefall, I do it again.  Over and over again.  My comfort is in knowing, you’re right here, next to me.  You’ve wrestled my questions and the thoughts that I have as you remind me of this 2020 journey and the provision you have had over every single piece.  I may not have the answers, but I know who does.  And so

                                    I’m standing on the edge of everything I know.

Seasons of Surrender

                    cupped hands

Note – I found this in my drafts today.  Unpublished.  Yet still applicable as we are being asked to continue to surrender each day through this unpredictable time.  Praying for you all as you navigate change….


God gave me an image, of all the times I have stood in church or in prayer and extended my hands out to him in a posture of surrender.  Empty hands, nothing in them.  Extended as an offering of what ever I was holding onto that I wanted to now give up.   Fear wants to creep in as we realize things are slipping out of our hands without control.  As if our hands are extended out, water is pouring water over them and nothing can slow this flow. We have been forced to surrender so many things in our lives before we even had a chance to give them up.  And it leaves us speechless at times and unsettled.  That is what March felt like – trying to stop the water as it slipped out of our hands.

It humbles us to know that even when we thought that we had surrendered all, there was still more. For many of us God has been redefining complete surrender.

We can’t minster or disciple in the same way. We can’t gather or encourage.  We can’t plan or predict our lives. So we find ourselves in a season of ultimate surrender.  I am sure many of you have found yourselves in one of these postures over the last few weeks.

If we curl our fingers just a little bit to try and hold onto that water, it still slips away.

If we squeeze our fingers together tight to keep the water from slipping through, it flows over our palms that much faster.

If we refuse to let go and hold on with white knuckles, it still is pulled away from us.

If we clasp our hands together into one unified fist cupping the water, our hands quickly tire and we are left no choice but to stretch them out wide.

And so, what is to learn through all of this as we move through these seasons of surrender?  We find that peace comes when we extend our hands out and allow God to have it all.


This is particularly important concept for me in ministry lately as I reach out to the emerging adult population.  This time of life is a vulnerable point for them to begin with and this crisis has proven to really rock this group.

Many of them have lost job offers, internships, study abroad opportunities, their communities, commencement, work is not available for the summer and some have been told they could not graduate because they did not finish internships or clinicals.  Their lives have been put on hold and they don’t know when or if they will resume.

The same as many of you.  I was encouraged to receive the words of one of my students this week when she wrote me –


I am learning through all of this that my plans were not God’s plans.  I feel like I have lost so much in just the last two weeks, but I have also gained so much as my perspective has shifted off of me and onto God.  As I have been anxious over all of these decisions, I realize that this God I am learning to know isn’t anxious at all.  And I am to trust in His redemptive nature through all of this.

And that is my hope for all of you right now – that through these weeks of uncertainty, you’re able to trust God that He will redeem this time for His good. Hands stretched in ultimate surrender.


So what now? Where will I work?

So what does all of these mean for me?


So far it has doubled my work and my stress, the same as the rest of you I am sure.  We are all in this time of constant change.  But a bright side is that it is an opportune time for ministry.  So many students find themselves at a crisis moment for a 20-year-old.  Their entire worlds have been changed and they are trying to make terms with the fact that they will not have their athletic seasons, senior recitals, spend time with friends, or have face to face teaching from professors……  For them their world revolves around a small bubble called campus and it has just disappeared from their lives.  Expectations have been shattered.  Internships that won’t happen, summer scholarship opportunities that have been cancelled and so they are left with this changing life amongst the chaos that surrounds them.  And so through these last ten days I have been on campus with students working through the decisions and trying to look for the positives.


My challenge to them is, “Did you trust God last month?”  And when they say yes, I then answer….then we must choose to trust Him now as well.  Because nothing has changed in His world.  This world seems to be shaken to the core, but we are given a choice – to look toward the opportunity that is out there or to fall into a chasm of negative thoughts and fear.


There will be a season of grief for these students as they realize the abruptness that happens.  But they are also a generation that is extremely flexible.  And so as the new normal settles in and this world determines how best to quarantine, we will press into the opportunities for ministry that abound.


And so what will I do as they are away from campus?  Ministry.  My work will actually increase as I have to do new things and learn new skills.  As we move forward and follow recommendations, we will determine how best to gather and walk through this together.  I also will be abruptly changing my ministry to a digital platform.  Praise Jesus that this generation is tech savy!  We will meet digitally as if we were in the same room for our weekly meetings and Bible Studies.  I will call students individually for discipleship time instead of meeting in person.

For me it is also a time to grieve as we were gaining momentum in much of our ministries.  I always love March and April because it is a time where I really have developed relationships with students and can see fruit.  And so just as I am challenging students to make the decision to continue on despite the circumstances, I myself must rise to that challenge as well and engage with students.  There is still work to be done and a harvest that is ripe.  I do not want this year’s crop to lay in a wasteland so I have committed to pressing into this next season that God has quickly brought upon us!


Will you be praying for me as I prepare in a different way and for the students as they find themselves isolated and many of them with much uncertainty.  I am praying for you all as well as this is not just something hitting college campuses, but every home.



This was our bowling event that we had during the Deeper Life Conference.  So excited for the momentum we had going into March.  Pray for these students as they were dispersed!

Here Right Now

As I sat in front of a TV and watched a livestream of church, tears flowed down my cheeks.  Possibly from the high stress and demands of the last 7 days, possibly from flashbacks of times of livestreaming church in the past and missing that community, but most certainly from the presence of God.  As I reflected on how many people across the world were opting to do livestream of church that morning, it was definitely a defining moment for the church.  The church never has been and never will be defined by brick and mortar.  And so, in choosing to do church a little differently, we were choosing to unite on a different level right now. Rise up church!

There have been years of my life that livestreaming church was the norm when I was living over seas.  To be able to attend an English speaking church was a rarity and so, livestream was the only option.  The shared experience is an experience of spiritual intimacy, something that is probably lost in many families these days.  To sit with each other and choose worship, to choose to discuss or comment on the sermon, to focus together for that short period of time with others on worshiping and honoring God during this time of uncertainty.  It is opportunity to grow together spiritually in your core community of your home.  As we sing – Jesus is in this room, here right now, here right now – It is my hope that in each home where these words were sung, that there was a declaration going out over our homes that the presence of Jesus is ushered in and the peace that He brings will settle there during this time.

For most of us, livestreaming would not be the option as we crave to gather together and fellowship.  But let us look to the opportunity during this time as well to speak life into those with whom we gather.  This is a sweet opportunity that we don’t want to miss.  Engage with one another, worship together, be united.  Let us sing our praises together as one, united as one church and declaring that we will trust in He who is eternally faithful, even when we cannot see through the cloud.

The Church IS for YOU


I sat in worship and saw one of our students playing in the orchestra, another student on the risers with her arms extended in surrender and another student jamming on the drums.  All the while knowing that there were even more students serving in the children’s ministry as well as anchoring a team that is encouraging the youth in our church to be Jesus followers.  The church is for this generation.

In a world that is becoming more and more individualized and focused on self – this generation is feeling more and more like the church is not a place for them.  They struggle to find a place to fit in or serve.  But I forget about this all too often because it just isn’t the case with my partnership.  It isn’t the case with my campus.  We have the challenge of having too many students instead of the challenge of missing a generation of bodies within the church.  I so easily forget that this generation is turning away from the church at such a rapid rate because I get to be a part of a ministry where the students are running toward the church.  Toward the opportunity to serve and use their gifts.  Toward the truth of the gospel.  Toward a place of community.

And so…. I sat in a state of gratefulness that I have the opportunity to know a population that wants Jesus.  To be a part of a church where the next generation is actively involved and feels a part of the church.  I had just returned from a weekend with 4000 college students in Pittsburgh where it was a whirlwind of conversations and intensity.  Conversations with coworkers about the difficulties they are facing and they are so different from my reality.  How are we to equip these students to be launched from here?  How are we to prepare this population for transition to adulthood?

A few weeks ago I was asked to bring stories to the CCO Board as there are many campuses that don’t have any students that are attending church, any students who are being discipled by congregants, any students who are found serving within the church.  I was challenged on the numbers that I summit monthly.  Do we really have that many students in church?  Are there really that many students serving? Are there really that many students being discipled?  At first I was a little offended, until I saw the reality for other CCO staff, and I realize that yes, my supervisor was right, our numbers were not the norm.  I forgot how difficult it can be at some of these partnerships as they reach out to students with no response. How grateful I am for students that radically embrace the gospel.  Who serve and engage with us.  Yes, the church is for you!  All generations.

Thank you for being a part of this partnership that extends opportunities toward these students to be connected to the local church.  Thank you for giving up your comfort to sit close to these students.  Let’s continue to empower them toward a life of relationship with Jesus!

Complicated and Easy vs Simple but Hard

As time wound down and we finished up our time in Canilla, Jess joined us for a few minutes on our last afternoon to share her journey and encourage us toward the life God has for us.  She ended her time by quoting her husband, something she has heard him say many times to visitors that come down.  “Life in Guatemala is hard but simple and life in the states (or Switzerland where Jess comes from) can be easy but complicated. ” This phase was reflected upon the next evening as well as students began to transition their minds back to the states.  Although in our time in Guatemala we never experienced the hard life, we had a glimpse of it as we listened to families that serve their faithfully tell of the journeys that they have had and how God has been working in the Quiche Valley.  My heart is for the students to see the reality during their time there and not just have an adventure.  To understand and stand with those that are serving.  In our world today we often run from hard, but what if that is exactly what God is calling you toward – the hard.

Yes, life in Canilla is simple, removed from the bustle and expectations that come from life in the states.  All of the decisions that have to be made when stepping inside of a store or your car or with your families in the states are eliminated because in Canilla there are few options.  In Canilla, there is no appealing options for dining out, finding bread or entertainment.  Fresh fruits and veggies are available in town on Fridays and so our schedule is set for us when we will shop, what is available and where we will go.  Friday afternoon.  Or wait till the next week.

This creates simplicity to life to be able to focus on different things and create priorities.  But it is also hard, a hard that we did not really grasp in the short time we were there.  Hard because we are far from friends, family and familiar.  Hard because homeschooling is the reality, cooking food from scratch for every meal is the reality and living in a different culture with different needs and expections and heart language is the reality.  Hard because nothing seems to come easy.  If you can’t fix it, then there’s a good change it won’t get fixed.  And finding the part or tool comes even harder.  No Amazon.  No postal service.  No skilled workers.  If you can’t make it, then you will probably do without.  Much effort goes into survival.  But it’s simple.  And simple can be refreshing and necessary and just what we need to be able to prioritize Jesus over busy.  Priortize family over worldly demands.  To have the eyes to see what God intends for use to see.

For me I have experienced them all.  I have lived Easy, Hard, Simple and Complicated.  I have craved one when I had the other and wanted things to be different when they couldn’t be.  Because my body has experienced each of these things, it subconsciously goes into yearning mode when it is over stimulated toward one direction because it knows that the opposite exists.  Is having the best of both worlds having a life that is simple and easy?  Does simple and easy exist?  I am not sure that is does.  Because if we had all that the world has to offer each day at our fingertips, we wouldn’t be stripped of the distractions that make life so simple.  It’s why camping, vacations or short term trips appeal to so many people.  Because for a short period of time we can have both simple and easy.  We can do without a few things that we don’t have and live a simple life.  And it’s why toward the end of that time your body starts to tell you that it’s time to transition.  Camping forever would not be fun.  Vacationing forever would not be fun.  The hard would start to settle in and instead of short term, it would start to look more like long term.  And we would find ourselves leaning more toward a simple but hard life.

Each of us is in transition mode as we slip back into compliated.  For those that it was their first time, this transition is easier.  For those who saw the country a little different and God stirred their hearts, it’s more of a challenge.  May we not take for grated our time away and what God is yearning to teach us!


Canilla to Guatemala City

We made it to our bed and breafast in Guatemala City!

The ride into Guatemala City was peppered by a few stops to check on an oil leak, but we made it in six hours. We spent the afternoon at Guatemalan gift market picking up souvenirs and stretching our legs from the long ride.

We will be flying out of Guatemala tomorrow afternoon and should be back in Pittsburgh tomorrow night. Over dinner tonight, we recapped some of the significant experiences of the trip. As we travel tomorrow, we’ll spend more time processing and remembering the work God is doing in Guatemala and in the student’s lives.

Thank you for your continued prayers!


Another Hospital Day

Today was our last day in the Canilla clinic.

One of the notable patients was a 7 or 8 year old girl with a mid-shaft clavicle fracture. All of the students gathered into the X-ray room to see the image on the computer screen. The girl was in a lot of pain, but after being splinted we were assured her prognosis was good.

We spent some time after clinic learning about the hospital lab. Manuela, the lab technician, showed us all of the instruments and even tested the red blood cell count of some students. For lunch, we were treated to tortillas, chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables in the hospital.

After lunch, the students heard the testimony of Prosper and Miriam, who have been living and serving at the hospital for nine months. Prosper serves as an OR nurse and Miriam as a midwife. They moved here from Zimbabwe and we learned how God provided for them through the many struggles of immigrating from Africa to Guatemala.

We went to town in the evening to play soccer with the many kids in the ministry as well as the adult hospital staff. The friendly competition is both a way to unwind and build community.

We finished the night hearing about the experience of a 3rd year family medicine resident, Caleb, who arrived at the hospital from Wichita, KS two days ago. We ate doblados (Guatemalan stuffed tortillas) and ice cream while discussing the pros and cons of what a career in healthcare entails.

Today was full, but God’s blessings were abundant.


We are tired after a full day of activity here.  We took the trip up the mountain to the clinic in Chiminisijuan and watched what a rural clinic looks like.  This clinic is one of the foundational clinics to Adonai’s ministry and has seen thousands of people each year.  At a high altitude, it is common for many lung related diseases to be found there.  We do what we can, but as we are just students, we can mostly just observe which is humbling.

We closed our day with a worship set in Spanish that some of the nurses participate in and are grateful for each opportunity that we have to see the people for who God sees them as.  Tomorrow is our last day of clinic at the hospital and we continue to press into more that God is doing here.