Sunday, May 31, 2009

A lil sore...

Wow...7 days sort of...went by kind of fast. I feel bad that I'm blogging after the trip instead of during it, but it never sunk into my brain to blog. I'm not the best at blogging anyways. I'll usually spend about 25 minutes writing some really vague entry that sheds no light onto how I really feel about anything. Hopefully I will be able to keep it short and effective this go around. Um...the trip was great. It really was and I'm more than glad I went on it. Now that I hammer time stop to look at it, I see that it was kind of necessary for me to go on the trip. Just like it was necessary for all my other 11 brothers and sisters to be there with me. Lewis was right...I definitely feel burnt out after that week. I'm glad to be home though...gotta do some R&R before I have to go to work on monday :-]. Anyways...shout out to my NOLA fam and my bros and sisters that ventured down with me...we'll definitely have to get a game of mafia or signs in during the summer (personally I'm down for signs or a radioactive game of spoons).

Much Love,

"2 Tall"

forgiven and loved

As we reflect upon this past week at 3 o'clock in the morning, it is clear that God's power has followed us every step of the way. Even after being stuck in Nashville for 3 hours, we were still able to use the unexpected delay

Some highlights of the week would have to be my new southern accent, my new taste for gumbo, the word gumbo, confessionals, learning how to put up crown molding, meeting/adopting Avery's extended family, and a new family, some of whom were left behind in New Orleans. It seems like we all had difficulty letting go, but it shows how much God really wanted us there in the first place. Its been a bittersweet ending, but the people of New Orleans have left a resounding impact in our hearts, especially our favorite trekkie. ==live long and prosper==

--Georgie porgie aka Georgia

As for me, I think i said it all in the last post... At least I hope so. But it's been great. Goodnight. =]



So I'm home. But what is really home anyhow. It feels pretty weird coming back because I realize I'm not waking up at 7:30am anymore welcomed by Katie's wonderful breakfast and 9 girls trying to use one bathroom. It's a bittersweet feeling.But honestly I enjoyed every moment of this trip.

It was such a blessing to see what true love is. If you read my last post I talked about how God was revealing to me the meaning of true love. It's such an honor and blessing meeting people whose life mission is to serve God and doing so selflessly. The Carpenter’s House (CH) is an amazing organization and my pray is that God continues to show himself in miraculous ways. I also pray for the leadership of the organization that God will continue to be their strength and guidance. This I pray for Charles, his wife Judy, Louis, Bill, Jose, Al, Gloria and everyone else who contributes to CH. Please keep them and the city of New Orleans in your prayers as well.

I thank God for wonderful teammates. I've learned quite a lot from each one of you. And I can see why God brought each and everyone of one of us together for this wonderful experience. I love you all. No like really.

There so much more I want to say but it's 2:50 in the morning and I'm thinking it's time to go to sleep. More to come.....

Live long and prosper :)

-T for Tayo


WE ARE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH SON!

OK not really... I miss New Orleans.. the people, the food, the southern hospitality, the warmer weather, the chiller atmosphere, and most of all THE TEAM! <3

Saturday, May 30, 2009

i don't really know where to start.... i haven't blogged since the trip began. there's so much i've learned and realized over the past week, its hard to get my thoughts together. so bear with me....

my dad's family is from new orleans, and we used to spend part of our summer vacations here. so, i've gotten to experience the city several times before. the team even got a chance to meet my grandparents, my dad's brothers, and an aunt of mine. i had even seen the damage from katrina about a year and a half ago, so i was ready for what everything would look like. but being in the city this week was different.

i remember driving through the lower ninth ward in january 08 and seeing how empty it still was. it was really depressing to see how drastically things had changed and how much work needed to be done. but this time, we got to see how deep the depression really goes. its even in the children. there's so much hopelessness here and serving at the carpenter's house and walking through the neighborhood gave me a new perspective on what life here is really like. for the longest time, i was convinced that this trip was going to be about rebuilding homes for people who lost them in the storm, but people here were struggling before the storm. from conversations we've with various people, the city needs its men to step up and be role models, the government is corrupt, and to top it off, we're in a recession that's making life even harder for people who were already struggling. people can't find work, and organizations like the carpenter's house are getting less donations and trying to serve more people. spiritually, a lot of people seem broken and discouraged. above all else, i now understand that the physical work we did is secondary to the spiritual. God heals the broken hearted and comforts those with a contrite spirit (isaiah 57:15), and i just pray that we were able to do that for at least one person in the neighborhood.

even though there was a lot of hopelesness and depression, it was really encouraging to see people who i would've thought had a reason to complain, being completely thankful to God for the little they did have. the leadership at carpenter's house has been great too. listening to their testimonies and seeing how God's worked in their lives and how they've given up or lost everything and are now serving the Lord with joy, just reminds me that no matter what we go through, God still deserves praise. He's working things out behind the scenes....

i couldn't imagine a better team. we compliment each other and i've learned a lot from and about each of you. i'm not going to write each person an individualized thing, but i hope everyone knows how much i've enjoyed and been blessed by the fellowship and devotionals we've had this week. i really truly love you guys. leading this trip hasn't always been easy, and i know some of you have witnessed my minor freakouts about random things, but i'm pretty sure God knew what he was doing. kennard, thank you for stepping up to co-lead with me. i could probably say alot more, but i'll keep it simple and just say that i admire the way you've led this team.

with that, its finally time for bed. we go back to maryland tomorrow. hopefully, i'll be back here sometime soon...


Friday, May 29, 2009

No Words or Too Many Thoughts to Express Them

As our trip is coming to an end, I am looking back and reflecting on the many deep conversations, laughs, prayers, devotionals, and how much God has been present in every aspect of this trip...from serving the people in the community to the workers/leaders of the Carpenters House. This trip has really opened my eyes even more to the purpose/mission God has given me and even Christians in general to always serve the many people that are suffering and spiritually dying in this world. From being able to play basketball with and have conversations with kids about Jesus to an older woman about to be kicked out of her home, this experience has been a tremendous learning experience. Up until this point, God has never placed me in an environment for an extended amount of time where hopelessness and the spiritual warfare is so heavy/strong as it is in New has come to the point of tears for me knowing that I am leaving a community that is in such dire need of Him and people that really care to do His work. While I didn't enjoy being sweaty and dirty, I have LOVED every minute and I am extremely gratful for this experience, each person on the entire team, and for how much more I will see God move.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

God's grace

It is only by God's grace that I'm alive, breathing, and on this mission trip in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I realize that everything God does has a purpose and time. I couldn't have asked for better teammates, I love each and everyone of them. I was gonna write something to each person but I see that Katie has already stolen that idea so I'll wait a few days (maybe).

But overall, when I first applied to the trip, I didn't see the timing of this trip having any significance. But in retrospect, God had it all panned out before I even knew what was going on.

The timing of this trip has been nothing but perfect. God knew this was what I needed to adjust to the overseas long distance relationship thing and He put 11 different people in my life at the same time to help me through this 1st full week that Jerry spends in Afghanistan. It has been so much easier gettin' through this time than I ever imagined. God's kept me focused on His work and on His people. I love my team and each of them brings something special and different to the team. God has been so good to me beyond what words can describe.

Today, I played 2 on 2 basketball and then Around the World with a couple boys and Genni a few blocks down and 'round the corner. I tried to the encourage them as much as I could no matter if they made or missed a basket.

Love is not expressed in words but in actions and attitudes.

so much to say, where do i start?

I cannot believe that tomorrow is our last full day. I am extremely sad to be leaving. I am sad to be leaving Charles and Louis, Bill, Hose, and everyone else that is involved in Carpenter's House. I love these people and my heart cries out to them - they are doing amazing things for the Lord.
I am sad because I love every single person on this team, and I don't want our time to end together.
I am going to be writing a lot so be warned.
I have so much to say, I dont know how to organize this all, but I'm just going to write. I want to mention everybody on the team.
Georgia - your heart is breaking for mankind, just as God's heart breaks for mankind. I pray that your heart would also rejoice for what brings God joy.
Wei - I see your genuine love for people, especially children, and it is awesome. I am so thankful to be serving by your side on another trip, this time a longer one.
Genni - you have a sweet and joyful heart, and I see God pushing you hard to find true joy in serving Him.
Abeena - You have an incredible heart for the Lord and through the hard times in your life, God is going to use you to be a voice to the voiceless. Keep seeking the face of Christ.
Rachel - You have the ability - a gift from God - to relate to and connect with anybody. That is awesome. You are really easy to talk to and I loved your devotion. Thanks for the encouragement and thanks for your new friendship.
Avery - I think you are a really great team leader and I am honestly sad that we had no real "work" days together. But even though I havent been with you during the day, I know that wherever you are you are working hard, and working hard for the Lord. "Go hard!!!"
Nina - Past all the joking that goes on between us, you have been such an incredible blessing in my life. I loved working with you on Wednesday and I can see your joy in serving the Lord.
Tayo - I can see that God is really working in your heart on this trip, and that makes me so happy. I think you are a wonderful person, and I am so glad to have met you and look forward to hanging out with you after the trip.
Kennard - you have a sincere and genuine care for your team. That is awesome. And I love how you are able to connect and be chill with the boys and teens that we meet during our evangelism periods. It is so vital to be able to relate to the people whom you are evangelizing, and you definitely do. And oh yeah, you love Lecrae
Jam - Last night during devotionals you brought in a topic that was very serious and very important. I thought that was really cool that you had the boldness to bring that up. I can see that you are very strong in the Lord, that you have a huge heart of service, you are very flexible and are humble. Your humility has been really encouraging to me.
Chris - You are always looking out for others and being a gentleman. That may sound cheesy or awkward, but its true. And its cool that you are serious about being a good driver and being safe, because I probably would have allowed the door to stay open while pulling away. While being fun and goofy, you are also very aware of the people around you and their needs and always thinking about the safety and care of your team members). And oh yeah, you like Lecrae.

Now I want to talk about Charles and Louis. I was praying on Tuesday, and God was really speaking to me about the focus of the trip. Yes, we have gone out and evangelized, heard stories, fed the homeless, but I feel that we are here to really encourage and serve Louis and Charles and everyone else working with Carpenter's House. The first two work days, I stayed back at the house and helped sort clothes, and clean up. On Tuesday I spent a good 2-3 hours working on this one corner. It was dusty dusty dusty. I dusted everything off, organized and cleaned the floor. It was so amazing to be able to serve that way and help Louis and Charles do something that they probably wouldnt have time to do. They both give their life to this - their entire life. That is so humbling, so encouraging. They are huge servants of the Lord, and to be able to serve them I found a huge, profound blessing. These past two days I have been working on Charles house, mostly doing trim work. It has definitely been a learning experience for me and I think its cool that I learned a bit about putting a house together. Leaving today, I saw a significant difference from yesterday, and I found great joy in knowing that I am helping to rebuild the house of someone who lost it all from Katrina. Well, lost everything on earth, but still has Jesus Christ. So basically, God has just been telling me - you are here to serve and encourage Charles and Louis and directly influence by renewing and refreshing them spiritually and so to indirectly impact the people of New Orleans through their ministry, which Charles says is OUR ministry - how humble he is.

I have so much more that I want to say, but I think i've been hogging the computer tooooooo looooong. so peace out, i shall write later.

Day 5--late night reflection

Okay, I should be sleep right now...but I've had something to blog about since way earlier. I'm not sure what is on my heart to share right now...cause there is a lot. Like so much running through that there seems to be I can't seem to choose lol... Well, maybe I'll discuss the aspects of mission least the ones that I've been.

Well, this is like my 3rd/4th depending on what you classify my trip to Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands. But I've been to Peru in 2007 and Dominican Republic in 2008 (suppose to go back in July) and now this trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. This trip has been interesting and stands out from amongst those I've just mentioned. The major differences are in location and who I'm going with. I'm in country for once dealing with American citizens that speak my own language dealing with issues that I'm lightweight knowledgeable about. Also, I'm co-leader on the trip which has been very interesting. I'm leading a team of 12 college students (including myself) along with someone that I would consider one of my best friends, Avery. There are 9 girls and three guys (me, Jamiel, and Chris) and it has been interesting. Shout out to Ave cause I couldn't have made it through without her. The trip has been very frustrating in many ways from an organizational, personal, and ministerial level. Thank God she has good organizational skills cause the ball would have been tremendously dropped in my hands. Nonetheless, this experience is definitely preparing me the next upcoming months.

The thing about mission trips are that you learn so much about yourself and others. And many things that you learn and reflect on at these trips can applied to your life once you leave. I could list major examples but that would be book in addition to this lengthy piece I'm writing now lol. But it's tough. You deal with the rigors of not being able to do everything you want to because of finances...people trying to take advantage of you...not seeing the immediate results of your labor, etc. You also deal with the shortcomings of yourself and others which is really taxing but developing if you are aware of the situation your in. It's definitely a growing up process in your aim to being a godly person. There's so much more I could mention, but I'll close out with the fact that mission trips are also a time to see the Holy Spirit work in mysterious and major ways. It's a great feeling to ask God to bless you with boldness and prepare for the situations you face and to see how He pulls you through. I laugh in amazement because of the little things He did today and showed the team.

Oh one more also learn about love...loving the people you encounter and serve and minister to, but also the team you work with. The team is becoming very unified, especially as of recently...through prayer, devotionals, and fellowship...I love it...and I love this team. Pray for us as this week closes out. Much love to ya and praise God the power didn't cut off on me. CHEA!!!

Grace n Peace fam


In A World That Breaks

Today has been so powerful because our team faced the fear that is plaguing our world, the city of New Orleans, and the community.

"And I will fear no evil for my God is with me.
And if my God is with me, whom than shall I fear?
Whom than shall I fear? Oh no you never let go.
I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
there will be an end to these troubles
but until that day comes still I will praise you."

The consequences of sin and the devils work is obvious through this community's corruption, crime, and depression. It is so easy to be absorbed into the cloud of hopelessness but the power of the Cross is mightier than any force in this universe. God has the power to heal, to protect, and to save. This is the truth that we cannot forget.

I see heartbreak on every face
Hurt we can't erase
Dreams that fade away
Like we're all just lost at sea

We need, we need an answer, a hope
And an end to the searching
We need, we need a portrait of grace
Just one steady thing
In a world that aches
In a world that breaks

Somehow before life began
You saw broken man
But You had a perfect plan
You would send your only Son
The Holy gift of love
And He would be enough
To erase all the pain of man

You are, You are the answer, the hope
And the end to the searching
You are, You are the portrait of grace
You're the one steady thing
In a world that aches
In a world that breaks


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Spirit of Service

So, today was day 3 of working on Charles and Judy's house. (I worked with a nail gun...yay! I should have my own show on HGTV or TLC or something.) Yet, today felt different from Monday and Tuesday. I found myself getting very tired easily and at times feeling like I wanted to give up, honestly. However, I think one of the biggest lessons I'm either reviewing or relearning is maintaining an attitude of service. Simply doing the action of putting up crown molding when asked is fine, but doing it with a positive attitude and an understanding that what we're doing is critical for their ministry is even better and even more important.

My memory verse for today comes from Jude 20-21 (NLT):

"But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love."

This verse above is a part of service, although it doesn't speak on it directly. Building others up, is exactly what we're doing here in New Orleans: one another, the leaders in the Carpenter's House Ministry, the neighborhood, etc." Some key words we've been using are: patience, humility, faith, etc. All of these are major themes of the trip and all are being tested. Yet, ultimately that's a good thing. I'm excited to see what the rest of the week will bring. I do plan to post something a little more substantial soon. We're about to go feed some homeless people and I can't wait.


Work Day 2...


Time to get our sleep on so we can be ready to go again at 8am! Praise God for rest and sleep and AC and fans.

Had a good gaming time with Kennard today. I will beat you before we depart New Orleans!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's all about LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE LOVE....

Hey, Hey, Hey,

Ok so I tried to blog before but the power went out, which was quite unfortunate as I had a lot to say. I apologize in advance for a about to be really long post. Don't say I didn't apologize :)

So we're hear in New Orleans and honestly it's been only two days but I really feel God showing and teaching me a lot of things. The theme I'm getting from this experience is LOVE. It all started in the airport. While boarding for our flight we began conversation with these two women who were curious as to what a group of 12 college students were going to do in New Orleans. We went ahead and explained to her that we were on a mission trip and were going to be working with an organization that helps with restoration of the city. One of the woman immediately said "I lost my home in that storm (Katrina) and I know how it feels to have people come down and help with restoration showing all that love. It's such a wonderful thing yall are doing." She then went ahead to give us 3 telephone numbers in which we can contact her if we needed anything even going as far a volunteering to make dinner for us one night while we were hear. Now that's LOVE.

Although I know quite well this trip is not about me at all, I've been making a lot of self reflections. Yes I love people and I show love the best way I can. But honestly I feel God is really teaching and telling me I have a long way to go. Everyday here I'm constantly reminded of what love truly is. From those who cook for the homeless, to those who sacrifice their entire livelihood to service God and the people who He has created, and then to those who open their homes and make dinner for complete strangers.

My prayer is that everyone would someday feel this kind of love especially since the greatest love of all was God sending Jesus Christ for us all.

1 John 3:16
"This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid His life for us."

With love,


Hard pressed on every side

From the few days our team has been here, It seems like we've been thrown into a whirlwind. Somehow we have to find a foundation and build on it. The damages of Katrina haunt the streets of New Orleans and in some areas there are blocks of empty homes with broken windows.The emotional and spiritual scars are obvious in the people who lived through the hurricane. Most have lost their homes, their jobs, and even their loved ones. It seems as if the flood divided New Orleans history, there was the life before and now there is the aftermath.

And amidst the brokenness there is glimpses of hope and grace portrayed in the lives of Charles and Louis, the people who run the Carpenter's House. Their commitment to developing the community for God's kingdom truly reflect Christ's unconditional love.

God is teaching me to find encouragement in the power of the Cross. He is pushing my comfort level in all directions. From bug attacks to showing patience and love for one another, I hope we are willing to be "extremely extremely extremely flexible."

More to come...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 1 - Je Suis Fatiguee

I was talking to Georgia earlier about how tired I was today and how guilty I felt. Cuz I wanted so much to work really hard and sort all the clothes. I felt bad cuz Rachel was doing such a good job at being a diligent hard worker, but I was just tired and to be honest, I just wasnt into it. So I took a 20 minute nap. and then later a took a 20 minute nap which turned into an hour and a half long nap. when I woke up, Tayo Nina Avery Georgia and Abeena were back, and Charles was gone.I just felt really bad about how I slept when I should have been working and that Charles left when I was napping, and that everyone else was doing a lot more physical work than me like trimming and painting for hours on end - so why should I be tired. But Georgia was telling me that there is physical rest, and there is spiritual rest, and just taking that time to rest in God will renew our strength. She said that yeah we have come here to serve, but it is also okay to rest. That was really encouraging to hear. And I think sometimes I do try to find my rest and energy in sleep and food alone. But the truth is, our real rest is from God. Praise the Lord. It does say in Psalm 28:7 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."
I think that just taking some time to pray and read some Scripture in the morning and throughout the day is really important. And trusting in God for EVERYTHING - including not just energy and strength but excitement joy and passion is vital.

I have to say that it has only been two full days but already it has been awesome. I thought it was really cool that we were able to have a free day as a team on the beginning of the trip so we could get to know each other some more. Most trips that I've gone on (well there is only one other) the free day is towards the end. But I thought it was cool for us to get some rest, hang out together and get a feel of the place. And today, we have already been bonding a lot and I'm really really really excited to bond a lot more and grow so much closer as a team.

Day 3--midday reflection

ok....let's try this again (power went out the 1st time [blower!!!] it's not gonna be as fresh and I won't say as much)

Today hasn't been a whole lot of work for some of the group. For me, it's consisted of hammering some nails, moving 2by4 blocks of wood, and conversations. Today is our 3rd day in town and I guess today has been the day that compassion and an empathy for the people has kinda overwhelmed me. I had to take a time out because some stuff I was hearing in my conversations were pretty heavy for me to handle. It's weird because ppl here seem to be used to it all...used to the depression...used to their situation. I've just been waiting for someone to wail about there problems...but no. They move on. And some, that have little to none continue to move on and serve others like they have something themselves, which isn't the case.

There's a man named Louis that helps out at the Carpenter's House. He's awesome. He's selfless. He's real. Every since we arrived here I have been intrigued by him. He's a man that does so much around here for others and not himself. Sometimes he's funny and sometimes he seems to be reserved. So far, he's impacted me the most. I think he's a man with many words...words of joy...words of pain and struggle. And you can see it in his eyes. I was blessed enough to share a car ride with him alone...a pair of circling-around-a few blocks-while-Jam-was-in-the-store in which he shared a lot with me. His convo hit the hardest. He doesn't have much...he gives a lot and doesn't get anything back for it...and he's a human so he has needs. But he continues to serve living in a way that marvels me. A man who had a regular and comfortable lifestyle to someone that lost it all/gave it up...and so he lives on.

Being here in New Orleans...actually, on every mission trip I've been on...I get really reflective and zone out frequently. Give me a sky full of clouds or a body of water and I'm gone...flying in mind somewhere. I tend to think about home ironically. I guess the things I plan to do when I get the trip will impact my life back at I must share this journey with others back in MD...people...and other things. I zone out a lot so my team thinks something is always wrong with me. I just pause and go at it...thinking about so many questions at once that I have no question. I wish you could be in my shoes for a second to see what I mean.

...I wonder if God told me to give up everything, would I so easily do it...


Work Day 1

I don't know about the other teams but as for me, Katie, Genni and Rachel.. we are exhausted!! (except Rachel) I don't know how she continues without a rest.. we are tired and sleepy!! it's a holiday so the store has been relatively slow... mann.. folding clothes, greeting people, cooking, passing out food and praying for people is tiring! hahah.. but God is good still. God has been teaching me a lot about faith lately.. and it was even more evident this morning when Charles shared a devotion on faith.. faith that can move mountains.. which reminds of Little Lights during arts when a child drew a picture of God moving a mountain.. such child like faith

NOLA Day 2

Tayo tried to blog earlier but the power went out and my laptop died as a result.. sorry Tayo!

Lecrae is an awesome christian rapper.. definitely check him out..

Today we went to church at Crescent City Baptist Church which is also the 1st carpenter's house.. the church had slightly over 7 feet of water during Katrina but now only has a couple of families and a couple of other people.. but the message was pretty good.. Charles who's the pastor.. talked about can I hear God now? am I listening to God? it's harder to hear God when we are living in sin... sin blocks the Spirit

Afternoon we went to French quarters and had beignets.. a first for some of us.. they were really good... we watched one of those street shows and walked by the river.. it was partially cloudy but it never rained while we were outside so praise God.. the day was really nicee.. windy and warm

Dinner.. we went to Avery's grandparents' house.. Granny cooked some really delicious food and Papa showed us a video of what the house looked like in October of 2005 not long after Katrina.. today you walk into the house.. you can't tell that water covered 7 feet of the wall.. we had a really good time there and thank you Papa and Granny Joshua!

Sunday, May 24, 2009



We arrived in New Orleans around 7pm local time (that's 8pm EST fyi)

Anyways, we got a tour of Carpenter's House from Luis (spelling?)... who's a local.. then he took us to Rally's and Popeye's for a late dinner.. then we came back and met Charles.. who is a pastor at the church we are visitin' tomorrow... we are all excited and ready for bed!! (or like katie.. who has already fallen asleep haha)

Tomorrow we are going to church, grocery shopping then French quarters and/or Avery's grandparents' house.. YaY!!

God bless!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Last Hours

Hey there!

In the few hours we have left hear, most of us with common sense are packing, sleeping, or praying.

I on the other-hand am completely restless, and truthfully not out of excitement but slightly out of nervousness. The closer this trip becomes the more real it feels. I have trouble adapting to unexpected change and I guarantee that whatever God has in store is going to be unexpected. But I a assured that God is powerful and that He will work through us. Whether its raining (forecast...thunderstorms -.-) or the sun is shining, God is on our side.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Words of Isaiah

There are some great verses in Isaiah, a few have really been on my heart lately.

Isaiah 40:28-31

 "Do you not know? 
Have you not heard? 
 The LORD is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.

 He gives strength to the weary 
       and increases the power of the weak.

 Even youths grow tired and weary, 
       and young men stumble and fall;

 but those who hope in the LORD 
       will renew their strength. 
       They will soar on wings like eagles; 
       they will run and not grow weary, 
       they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 52:7

" How beautiful on the mountains 

       are the feet of those who bring good news, 
       who proclaim peace, 
       who bring good tidings, 
       who proclaim salvation, 
       who say to Zion, 
       "Your God reigns!"

Isaiah 55:8-11

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, 

       neither are your ways My ways," 
       declares the LORD.

 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, 
       so are My ways higher than your ways 
       and My thoughts than your thoughts.

 As the rain and the snow 
       come down from heaven, 
       and do not return to it 
       without watering the earth 
       and making it bud and flourish, 
       so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

 so is My word that goes out from My mouth: 
       It will not return to Me empty, 
       but will accomplish what I desire 
       and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

The entire passages are awesome, but those verses specifically I have really been reflecting on.

For Isaiah 40:28-31 

I always used to read this verse and only relate it to physical tiredness, but now I see that it can relate to a lot of different fatigues. Spiritual, physical, emotional. I was off work Sunday-Tuesday, but before that, I worked 11 straight days opening the store, which means I had to be there at 4:45 in the morning. Can you imagine - 11 days working and getting up before the crack of dawn. As well as that, I was finishing up Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, a nationwide class that was offered at Mclean Bible Church this semester that I was the prayer coordinator and one of the graders for. I also was focusing on putting together the Katrina presentation for the team meeting. I also was having painful stomach aches on and off for almost two weeks and had to schedule an appointment when I really didnt feel I had the time (that turned out fine btw). I barely had time to think, was stressed out and really tired. However, I really saw God pull me through that week and a half. I kept my focus, didnt complain, prayed a lot, and somehow, the week went by much smoother than I had expected it would. and I praise God because He really helped me remain joyful and strong at work even though I could have understandably complained and been grumpy. But I knew that that would not honor God and as I trusted in Him, He helped me towards the end, to not only have strength to walk (which some days I felt I needed) but to soar like an eagle. I know that we have all had weeks where we got little sleep, worked a ton, and felt like it was never gonna end. In these times, if we focus on God and rely completely upon Him not only for physical strength, but also a steadfast heart and the joy and peace of Christ, He will help us to go farther than we could have expected. 

For Isaiah 52:7

God has given us beautiful feet. These feet are beautiful at College Park, in our homes, on the streets, in Starbucks, wherever we go. And in a few days, they will be beautiful in New Orleans. Often people will see Christ in us because of Christ's light shining through us, will see goodness and love, will see a difference in us. But do they know what they are seeing? Even if they see Christ, they have spiritual blindess. I pray that our beautiful feet would carry us to people so that our lips would speak truth, love and proclaim Christ as Lord and Savior! :)

For Isaiah 55:8-11

God has given us His Word, and it will not go back to Him without first being proclaimed here on earth - that is our responsibility and our privilege and joy :)  Also, I know that I can sometimes think that something has to be this way or that way, when really God has a completely different idea. For example, we voted on whether to greyhound to NOLA or drive there, and God said no to both. There is a purpose that God has for us to be flying. That is His way. Why are we flying? who knows, but I do know one thing - this is a great opportunity to share our faith on the airplane :)  The Gospel goes with us wherever we go :)


Monday, May 18, 2009

Meet our Members!

I believe its about time we meet the members of our team!

Kennard Blackwell and Avery Joshua Trip Leaders

Nina Sears

Katie Furlong

Wei Li

Jamiel Callaway-Pinckney

Tayo Fatokimi

Abenaa Acheampong

Genni Harrison

Georgia Yang

Chris Young

Rachel Smith

5 days and counting!!


give thanks

this is going to be quick... i'm taking my last final exam in 35 minutes! woo hoo!

so today's devotional was based on mark 8:1-10 when Jesus fed the 4000 with the 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. what stuck out to me when reading it this morning was that the miracle didn't happen until Jesus gave thanks for what i'm pretty sure he already knew was going to happen. it just reminded me to always be sure to give God the thanks and praise He deserves. a lot of times, we may fall into a pattern of asking for things without thanking Him for what he's already done or what he plans to do. He wants to bless us and do great things for us, but be sure to say thanks along the way.

that is all. yay for exams!!!
i'll officially be a senior in 2 hours.

love you guys!


Today's...well, yesterday's devotional

So I thought Luke 15 was pretty crucial today. It reminded me of an article I read on Boundless a few days's the link:

But it also reminded me of one of the many times I lost my dorm room key. I had the joint in my pocket one minute and literally the next minute (well, probably the next hour) it was gone. I searched EVERYWHERE for the key. And I was really worried because it was on a special lanyard and I put an angel charm on it that my cousin had given me. I also did not want to pay the $75-$150 fee that comes with admitting you lost your key. Theoretically, a key is not really that serious, right? It's a piece of metal; you can get another key and/or change your locks. Not too much of a hassle. Yet, still I refrained from getting another one in hopes I would find it in my dresser drawer or something.

Just when I was about to give up, I received an e-mail from my sorority sisters. Someone had found the key! The cool guy who picked it up was able to identify the organization on the lanyard and then contacted my sister, who asked if anyone had lost a key. That might as well have been the happiest day of my life (at that moment). With a few key strokes, this guy became a huge blessing to me; I was so grateful and excited. On such a huge campus, someone took the time to search for the potential owner of the key. He helped me find exactly what I needed.

And the point of this? Who knows...maybe we'll be the ones to help others find the key to open the door to life. (Cheesy right? But applicable nonetheless.) I think this is why I'm most excited about the New Orleans trip: we'll all have the opportunity to do "little things" to really impact the Kingdom of God and share God's love with others. But, if it's for God's glory, is it really little?


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Do not worry...

It wasn't till this weekend it really dawned on me that we're leaving as a group THIS Saturday to New ORLEANS! And of course my mind starts thinking at over hundred miles per hour, although we've been preparing for over a month. What are we going to do? Are we going to be safe? Are people to be open about hearing the gospel?... I then picked up my bible and then played the "close your eyes and open a passage game" hoping God would lead me to a scripture (I'm sure we've all played that game at some point). Didn't work on the first try; realized reading about Jerobaom rebelliousness was certainly not in context at the moment. On my second try I was led to Matthew 5:25-34 which talked about not worrying. I was thinking a ha! There you go God, this was exactly what I needed. I've read this passage so many times before but really saw it in a new light. It starts by saying:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they....But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, an all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

One word. Amazing.

Then today I happened to pass by these black bags that appeared to be trash bags NOT in a trash can. One step closer and a myriad of birds came flying out of those bags. Startled at first, but then I began to chuckle. Apparently God made some humans to have a party this weekend and leave all this food laying around for these birds to eat. Yes He's AMAZING! I'm not worried any longer, more excited about the possibilities and opportunities for us to be used mightily by God in this city.

New Orleans here we come!!!

-Tayo F.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's Official...

We bought plane tickets today =]

It finally feels like this trip is actually happening. I've known I was leading the trip since February, we've had a team since sometime in March, but now, today, it finally feels like its actually gonna happen. We're gonna get on a plane, fly to New Orleans for a week, and serve God. I'm really excited.

So now, all that's left is making sure that everyone is prepared spiritually. The rest of the logistics will fall into place, but we each have to make a sincere effort to grow in Christ daily. I really believe that God's gonna do some pretty amazing things through this trip and I for one don't want to miss out by not being prepared. We touched on it a bit in the meeting today, but like the Bible says in 1 Peter 3:15 (read the whole chapter for context), always be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have. So keep reading, keep praying, keep loving, keep growing, keep living for Christ.

I love you guys!! Be encouraged!!

10 days left!!!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Just a Reminder...

Hey All,

As the team embarks on preparation for our trip to New Orleans, this is a crucial time for us. A few of us are graduating, most of us are facing finals and all have other obligations. With everything ahead of us, it's easy to become detracted from our main goal: to serve God. Please pray for us. We're still in the midst of raising money. Yet, more than funds, we need your prayers, because we want to be sure we're walking in God's Will, following His lead.

James 5:16b-17 (NLT) says--"...The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!"

Some crazy things can happen through prayer (which is simply two-way communication with God). Prayer is a powerful tool we often underestimate. Sometimes, we even see it as an afterthought. After the planning is when we pray, although that's backward. We're supposed to commit everything we do to God. Prayer is our communication tool with Christ. We can find comfort and peace in knowing God hears our cries and will respond to them.

I'm not 100% sure of what to expect or what God will allow us to see while we're down in NOLA, but I do know now is the time to pray, specifically for: spiritual growth through this experience, the unity of the team, the people we will meet, trip logistics, and ultimately that His will be done and His Word goes forth.

Thank you to any and everyone who has already lifted us up in your prayer time. Please continue to do so! (Even during the trip.) If you haven't, please now.



kingdom kid

One thing that I'll never forget is something a friend of mine told me a year ago. She said to me, "What is there to fear? You're a kingdom kid!" That is one of the most meaningful things that someone besides God has ever said to me. It's a huge statement of my reality. I don't know what yours is, but my reality is one where the impossible can occur. My reality is one where fear has no place unless I allow it to (which is highly foolish, because I walk with God...I don't walk alone). My reality is one that has no limits.

I mean, how great is that? How great is He who allows me to have such reality. And I know I'm not the only one with this same reality...but I'm one of the few that realizes it and tries to exercise it (I can't fake, it's not always easy tho).

Luke 12:32 says, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," (KJV). As you read God's word and get a grasp for what it means to be a child of God, you realize that we have a hope and expectancy. But many times we let fear get in the way and hold us back. We back down to it and retreat without realizing that we let fear win another battle. Ha! Our helmets are covered with a salvation that reveal who the winner of the war what is a battle??? Think about how much territory we would uncover if we walked fearlessly. How much potential would we claim? Now realize, I'm saying this to myself as well as anyone who reads this. I've definitely lost a trunk full of battles to fear. But I encourage us to not take it no more. And when fear tries to creep in, remember that you are a Kingdom Kid. And to close out...I'll leave us with the way it is put in The Message version.

Luke 12:32- "Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself. "

...oh and did I mention that Jesus said this??? Yea, talk about some major ethos right there buddy! lol

Grace n Peace fam

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gods Heart and Our Mission


i wanted to share this video. I took a class last year called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. It is a global class offered at different churches every year - where it is offered depends on which churches host the class each semester. It goes through 4 views or perspectives of the world Christian movement. 1. Biblical 2.Historical 3. Cultural 4. Strategic.

I took the class last year at The Falls Church in Falls Church. This past semester I was the prayer coordinator as well as a grader for the class offered at Mclean Bible Church. Anyway, this video is a wonderful reflection of God's heart for the nations and His desire to bring every different culture and people towards Him. I found it fit to share this video. Every time I watch it I get emotional. 

My favorite quote is the one by John Keith Falconer 
and the two verses at the end are:
Matthew 24:14 and Isaiah 6:8