No Man’s Land 1: Comfort Less


There are areas of my life where I try to be honest with myself. I like Starbucks and I spend too much money there. I like napping on my couch and youtube. I like snacking by myself…on my couch…while watching youtube. These are things I find comfort in.

I enjoy comfortable settings. Though I myself am not great at interior decorating, I really appreciate when people create beautiful and peaceful spaces inside their homes. I notice and it makes me feel happy, more at home, and again…comfortable.

The people I most like to spend time with are people that know me really well. And people I can relate to on a deep level or have similar interests and passions. It’s easy to converse when I feel understood.  


I guess what I’m saying is I value comfort. I know the conditions that bring me that feeling of happiness and contentment, and whether I’m always aware of it or not I find myself spending a good portion of my life pursuing that feeling.

But comfort and contentment doesn’t equal fulfillment. I’ve found it’s easy to be happy and enjoy life, while at the same time feeling hollow inside. And equally so it’s possible to feel deeply fulfilled, yet carry a mixed bag of emotions and struggles that definitely aren’t comfortable.

~ ~ ~

This fall I’m moving to a conflict zone in the Middle East. I’ll be working as a nurse in a new clinic that is being established for local and displaced people (due to security reasons I’m not able to say where exactly I will be, but feel free to ask me in private or message me). I’m telling you about my addiction to comfort, so you know that I’m no different than you. My desire for comfort and intensity of love for my couch may even be stronger than yours. I’m also telling you this because it was one of the first realizations God had to awaken me to before my eyes could see the door He was opening to this place and people that his heart is broken for.

Like I said, I try to be self aware, and forthcoming about (*some of) my weaknesses. Because consciousness is the first step towards moving myself out of hypocrisy, where my stated values don’t align with my actions. But self-awareness only gets me so far, especially when a subconscious value is so deeply rooted inside me. I mean the kind of deeply rooted where I was making life decisions through the lens of comfort without even thinking about.

I enjoy adventure and spontaneity. Actually I need those things to really thrive. I’m also a passionate person, so I speak with intensity about injustice and the truths I believe God has shown me. So people, including myself at times, could look at my life and think I’m wired for taking risks and I’m totally unafraid to go wherever God would call me.


But I have been afraid, nervous about completely jumping in. My fears don’t have to do with death, but loneliness and unknowns. I’ve felt God beckoning me to “the hard places” for a long time. My heart trembling and overtaken with grief when I see the extreme suffering that is happening, specifically to children, all over the world. But I’ve looked away, pretending like I didn’t see Jesus motioning me to follow him.


The love story in Song of Solomon resembles my journey. In SOS 2:8-17 the bride’s Beloved comes to her and invites her to come away with him. He tells her now is the right time, it’s harvest time. He reminds her of their love and his desire for her to be with him. Though she loves him, she tells him to go on without her.

“Until the day breathes and the shadows flee,  Turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle or a young stag on the cleft mountains.”

After this scene, the bride goes through a process with her beloved, one filled with trial and pain. But at the end of the story the bride is the one beckoning her Beloved to the fields. Her desires and her actions now fully match his. And she proclaims that she wishes all could see her love for him.

I’m not yet at the place where the bride is at the end of the story, but I’m hopeful that this is path Jesus has me on. And more than that I’m encouraged because I know my Beloved’s desire is for me and every step of the way his leadership is full of love. He sees me. He looks at my heart, sees my desire to live fully with Him, but also sees the barriers to me doing that, and He knows how to perfectly and gently remove those barriers. All in love.

If we love Jesus, we are all on this journey. He’s beckoning us, he’s beckoning you, to come with him to the fields. The battle fields, the harvest fields, he wants you to come and join him there. We are his chosen bride, we are dark (full of sin/compromise) but he sees past that, to our potential, and says we are lovely (SOS 1:5).

No Father would give his pride and joy, his perfect son, to be married to an unworthy bride, to be joined with a woman who didn’t love him in the same way he loves her, and who didn’t value or want the same things he does. Yet God the Father is willing to give Jesus, the most humble and righteous man, to us in marriage. We who are lovers of self, and pursuers of comfort and pleasure. But he’s also committed to making us worthy of Jesus. We can not make ourselves worthy of him. But we can take Jesus’ hand and go with him to the mountain of myrrh, the place of death. We can choose to trust his leadership and believe the best about him in times of trial and pain, because this is what he does for us.

Sometimes you can have both fulfillment and comfort. But you have to decide which are you committed to. I think God wants us to be happy. He’s a God of joy, but He has this all encompassing plan in the works, so the whole world can live in that place of joy and it’s a battle to get there. Will we join him? Will we trade our pleasure now for the reward of never ending joy in the age to come? We’re all invited to the battlefield with him. Maybe it’s Syria, South Sudan, Iraq, Chicago, the Red-light district, or so many other places that are in need of the perfect love, justice and mercy of Jesus. He wants us there, we aren’t some damsel in distress bride. We are his chosen battle companion.

One final thought

There is so much injustice and suffering happening right now in the Middle East and North Africa. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed because there is so much need and you don’t know where you are “called,” I’m inviting you to come with me. Seriously, contact me and I can help get you connected. The time for lone heroes of the faith being sent out to nations alone, never to return, was amazing and inspiring; but now is the time for a nameless, faceless generation of lovers to arise and storm the gates of hell together.


Threshold of Promise

surferI feel hands on my back pushing me into expectation
Like when a group of friends pushes you into that boy you’ve been crushing on and whispering about
but never talk to
The fear of rejection and disillusionment anchors my feet to the floor
I’m leaning my body weight against the forward movement
Better to not know
Better to live the dream only in my mind
Than face the possibility of hope deferred
My heart has been broken and bleeding too many times this past season
My eyes are dried of tears
To bleed again for the cause of faith and hope sounds valiant
But my zeal is very low
A life among the ordinary appeals to my desire for rest and safety
but I’ve burned all those bridges

And so here I stand
On an island
The only way forward is through the ocean
The waves are frightful
But I have no where else to go
My ship back to safety and comfort has already sailed
I’m looking into your vastness
I’m afraid to be consumed

But I feel a hazy sense of resurrection
It’s tingling underneath my skin
New life?
Maybe just maybe I do have the energy to rise again
To take my board and surf the waves of promise no matter how many times I’m wiped out by the waves of misplaced trust

These hands on my back feel comforting
I sense love in these hands
But what about when they stop pushing me
And there I stand
In Your presence
What will I say to You?
What will be Your response?
I’m told You’ve been whispering about me as well
But I haven’t heard many of those whispers for myself

I’m nervous
Could this be it?
I’m taking a deep breath
I’m looking up into Your eyes
And smiling

January 3, 2016


Soul Sisters


The pain of loneliness comes not from being physically alone, it comes from being unknown. It’s much more painful to be surrounded by the people who “love you the most” and feel internally unknown, than to be physically distant from people who know your soul.

Some of the people I cherish most, who understand my inner working often better than I do, live thousands of miles away and across oceans.

They are family

forged through resurrection power

Soul sisters birthed in different time zones

but our internal navigation keeps pointing us to our true place of origin


the joy of journeying is in our blood

There’s always more to see

more to experience

But we don’t journey in vain

Our destination is always before us

it’s what motivates our movement

Zion our mother

the true land of the free

and home of our spirits

We set our course towards you

There is mystery on our maps

Our narrow paths intertwining and diverting

as we traverse mountains and valleys

But even when our paths separate

we are sure they will again unite

Times of refreshing

renewed vision

and running hand in hand


We often find ourselves running into unmarked territory

Wearied and bruised by branches of false accusation

and deferred hope

Eyes blurred by tears

yet onward we sprint

Love compels us!

Being known is our source of strength

as we run faster and faster

towards him who calls us by a new name

Do you remember young virgins when you first caught a glimpse of his face?

It is He who awaits us

and it is He who is among us

Let us find him in the fields

and kiss him with shocking abandonment!

Our pilgrimage carries purpose

Many will follow the paths we’ve foraged

They will go further faster

maybe even passing us

as they race with youthful passion

Ah but our prize remains in front of us!

We will never stop our sojourning

O beautiful sisters

our Beloved awaits us!

Leadership Lessons

Two weeks ago I found myself at a Christian leadership summit in Kansas City. A few hundred emerging and seasoned leaders from around the world were gathered together in a large hotel banquet hall sharing ideas, experiences, and a continental breakfast. Our purpose for being together was more straightforward and foundational than I expected it to be. And if I hadn’t been so tired from the 18 hour drive to Kansas City, and switching from night shift to day shift I would have been dancing with excitement (well, probably not actually dancing. It was a leadership gathering mind you, but you get my point. It was exciting). Our purpose was to put our heads, resources, and prayers together to strategize about completing the great commission, and seeing Jesus worshiped day and night in every nation and every language.IMG_2559Leadership Summit – Praying together over a large map of the world

It’s at times like these that I’m reminded that I am still young. I’m 25, so maybe that’s obvious. But even if I leave my age out of the picture, I know that when it comes to leadership I am young. Though I’ve been leading Bible studies, small groups, and discipleship programs for about a decade now, I still feel like a new leader.

For many years now people have affirmed my “leadership abilities,” and given me areas of oversight and people to lead. I’m so thankful for their affirmation and I’ve gained many valuable experiences from the opportunities I’ve been given. But because I had their voices always encouraging me onward,  I never really stopped to ask the Lord about how to lead or what it means to be a leader. I guess I sort of just assumed it was in me, because people told me it was, so I thought what I was doing must be the right stuff. And because of the mercy and love of Jesus, I believe some of it was.

But in the past 6 months of my life, a pause has been put on those opportunities, and God has been intensely pruning my heart and giving me a kingdom perspective and revealing his heart as a shepherd and as a king.

Leadership isn’t about you


To put it simply, he’s showed me that leadership isn’t about me or my “leadership giftings,” it’s about his sheep. In kindness, he revealed my heart motives were off track, I was viewing leadership sort of like climbing a career ladder in the ministry world. I cared about the people I led, very much, but I also cared A LOT about my needs and my success as a leader.

He reminded me that he leads his flock by laying down his life for them. So I must do the same if I am to be his disciple. I must pour out my giftings, my passions, my life to see the people I lead walk in the fullness of their callings. My goal should be to help the people I lead discern their callings and walk them through the process to get there. Meanwhile teaching them to do the same for others. 

Like a mother pours her life out for her children and doesn’t withhold her heart from them, I am to do likewise for those the Lord gives me to lead and disciple. My goal isn’t to replicate myself, my goal is to see my disciples or spiritual children walk in every good work that God has prepared in advance for them (Eph 2:10). My goal is to see them also become leaders, not necessarily a leader like myself, but a leader in whatever sphere God places them in.churchleadership

Practically speaking, I currently lead a team of about 6 people (give or take) on the Night Watch, at Gateway House of Prayer. I used to think that leadership during Night Watch meant continually casting vision for more effective prayer strategies and setting an example for my team to follow. Though that most certainly is part of my role, I believe I’m also called to lay down my life for each of my team members. Meaning, the things that have been given to me, all my talents and experiences, even my time and resources, I give to them, to see them become who they are destined to be. Of course, I’m not the only one called to pour into their lives and I can’t help them in every area of their lives, but I offer what I have. My desire is to see each of them confident in who they are, and what God has called them to do. And I believe when I do that, the prayer and worship that arises from the Night Watch will grow in effectiveness without me putting lots of effort in strategizing and casting vision. And like Paul said, I don’t claim to have already been made perfect in this area, but I press on to make it my own (Phil 3:12).
NW-ChristmasPartyNight Watch Crew

These leadership revelations are simple. Every parent understands them, and anyone who has read the New Testament will find these truths all over, especially in the gospels. But sometimes I find that even though I understand biblical truth, I still live as the world does. Because my worldview has been so shaped by human thinking. Understanding a concept is different than living it. The Pharisees and scribes knew the law, but they crucified the only man to ever fully embodied it. I want to be like that man in my leadership. I want to love Jesus through the way I lead, and he said to Peter, that to love him means feeding (taking care of) his sheep (John 21:15-19). 

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:25-28
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” –  John 13:12-17

Leadership is a character quality307934344-abraham-lincoln-quotes

During lunch at this leadership summit I had a conversation with another young leader in much of the same position as myself. We related on many topics, like singleness and forming meaningful relationships with people of the opposite gender, the emerging priority of prayer in our lives and the earth, and our excitement about revival. But then we started discussing how you discern who are the leaders in a community of people if they aren’t already defined. And as we talked God started revealing another layer of truth concerning leadership.

In the Kingdom of God, leadership isn’t just a role you play, but a character quality. Let me explain that a bit more, because it might be semantically confusing. There’s an action meaning for the words leader and follower, and all throughout our lives we play the roles of leader or follower in our function. This is a good thing, because God’s government is literally a kingdom, so we need to know how to follow and submit to those who are leading. But then there’s our heart posture, which Jesus is always super concerned about because it’s out of the overflow of the heart that we speak and act (Luke 6:45). And I believe we are all supposed to be leaders when it comes to our character, because we are being formed into a kingdom of kings and priests (Rev 5:10). A person who has formed leadership in their character is basically a mature follower of Christ, they are in it because of him and for him. Whereas as a follower (in character) is one who’s still mostly seeking what they can get out of something. They are followers because they follow the crowd, and whatever is trendy at the time. It doesn’t look bad on the outside, they may be doing all the right things, but their motives are off.

Those who are true leaders in character will actually make the best followers. They are the best followers because they aren’t just worried about their own needs and wants, but want to see the best outcome for everyone and the desires on the Lord’s heart fulfilled. Being a leader in character sets an example and raises a standard in how to truly follow and submit well.

Are you a leader or follower?following-the-leader

So it’s necessary to ask ourselves, “Am I acting like a leader or a follower in the things I’m involved in?” “Where is my heart?”

As I was dialoguing with the Lord about these things, I came up with list of distinguishing factors in leaders and followers when it comes to character. These lists might seem harsh, but sometimes when we really look at heart motives behind what we do it’s pretty ugly.


Leaders invest completely in the community, project or ministry.

They don’t withhold their hearts or passions.

They give because they know they will receive in due time, from the Lord primarily but also from others.

They carry the Word of the Lord for the assignment.

They take ownership, no matter if it fails or succeeds.

They put their name on it.

They aren’t afraid of criticism, because they’ve tuned their ear to heaven, so all criticism is filtered through heaven’s perspective. They can receive from it, even if it’s slimy and comes with malicious intent.

Leaders see future potential rather than just current weakness or flaws, because they know God. He uses the weak to shame the proud.


Followers invest so long as they receive more than they are required to give.

Followers are quick to criticize because they don’t take ownership for anything that goes wrong.

They look for fulfillment of their personal desires in the assignment, not necessarily the fulfillment of the Lord’s desires.

They are more attune to their own heart than the hearts of others or even the Lord.

They place blame instead of taking responsibility.

Followers might think their hearts are in it, but it’s superficial love. They love only what they receive and aren’t actually committed.

They are usually looking to receive honor.

His ways aren’t my ways


As I look at these lists, I’m super aware that in the not so recent past (as in the past few months) my character in some of the things I’m involved in was a lot more like a follower than a leader. I’m beyond thankful for this season of heart pruning and course correction. And for some reason the verses in 1 Timothy 3 come to mind, where it talks about the qualifications of an overseer (aka leader), and it says in verse 6 “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with pride and fall into sin brought on by the devil.” I’m not a recent convert in believing in Jesus as my Saviour. But in some ways I’m still pretty recently converted to living by the Spirit, and following his leadership. Though I think any leader, at any stage of life, can easily succumb to pride if they don’t guard their hearts, I understand why Paul would give this specification. Because the longer I walk with Holy Spirit, the more I see that my ways aren’t his ways. His ways of life and leading will always bring me closer to humility, and to the cross.

and in the night, His song shall be with me


The sun has gone down. The blue-grey sky painted with white billows of oddly shaped clouds, has again become a dark, empty canvas. Glitters of light are being thrown against this vast, black void. They multiply before my eyes.

Suddenly, without much notice, the voices of daylight are quieted. A hush blankets my surroundings. Deep breaths are being taken, as parents put their children to bed. A moment of rest and solitude, before sleep takes over and invites tomorrowland.

Reflected silverlight is drawing shadowed sketches of trees and buildings on street pavements.  The moon is commanding the celestial sphere, and capturing my gaze. Each night there is variance, but it’s grandeur remains constant.


The artistry of the night is different from the day. It’s simpler, yet bold and brilliant. If you pace with it, slowing down your muscles movements and mind meanderings, you’ll see it, feel it.

I’ve found fragments of shalom hidden in this secret place. The watches of the night, when fellowship with brothers and sisters is scarce. When the forces of distraction are lessened by the veil of darkness. When the sound waves of my small singing voice meet the gates of heaven and pass right through.

The night is a mystery. Often branded by the company it acquires. Its very name and description stirs up shadowy images of times and seasons better left as faded memories.

We relate to the night. We know what it is to feel as though our identity is nothing more than dark loneliness. But as we push beyond the fear of silence and sunless sight, our hands outstretched in front of us, we touch the invisible. Where faith and hope are activated, as we trust fall into the rest of God.

Darkness is the revealer of light.candlelight2

For when the night has reached its darkest hour, I look down and see the faintly burning wick of my spirit. It’s flame being pushed and shoved from side to side by forces of the unseen. But it is not quenched. I praise my God, my Father of all light, because it’s real. My light is small, but it’s beautiful. My love is small, but it’s burning with sincerity.

I look up and I meet the gaze of my Beloved. Though darkness has cloaked the path of my feet, he is the bright morning star. His eyes are forever burning with love, and I will not lose his gaze. My feet will not slip, because his eyes never sleep. And I choose freely to remain awake with him, in the watches of the night.

“Any fool can sing in the day. It’s easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight. But the skillful singer is the one who can sing when there is not a ray of light to read by. Songs in the night come only from God. They are not in the power of man.”


These days…

Poetic words have not been my natural flow these days.
My mind space overrun with expectation
Daily tasks are crowding out my artistic expression
Creativity a luxury
Take me deeper
I don’t want to live on the surface
My soul deep within
Covered by organs, muscles and useless information
Awake my soul
Awake from your slumbering
I need you
Practical living, you stifle me
You slowly suffocate my complexity
My life is too narrow and easy to describe
I want to dive into inspiration
Newly grown revelation
Rise up within
Let a new day begin
I water you today with these fragile words of dulled down expression
My confession is I didn’t know where to begin
I had to search within
My mind has been rehearsed
So formal and flat
Lacking substance and spark
I need meaning to make art
And my source is within
A deep well of life
Burst forth again
Wine of romance
Come dance me into the love we had at first
Give me purity of speech
Purity of purpose

Let the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart be pleasing to You. Now and Forever!

Moleskin Revelation…thoughts on “story”

A few weeks ago I found one of my old moleskine journals hiding in my backpack. I began paging through it, and midway through stumbled on this little nugget. I felt like it was what I needed to be reminded of in the moment, so I’m going to share it.


Revelation on “Story”

We always want to be the main characters of our stories/lives. In fact the wording “our stories” implies that idea. We control our stories, we narrate them, and we are the focus of all the events taking place.

In my life, that idea causes me to thrill seek. Because the best parts of stories are the climaxes right? Stories need characters to change. They need action, adventure, love, romance, tragedy, and comedy. Stories need conflict and momentum. And as we passively watch stories play out in books, movies, or theater, we are rooting for the hero. If all the other characters die or fade from the story we can bare it if the hero survives and “wins” out in the end. No matter the surrounding devastation.

But I think there’s something faulty in this embedded understanding of us as the heros of our stories. I think there might be just a twinge of deception. A slight side step off the path. But because the path is narrow even a slight side step, be it an honest mistake, be it a valid point, be it even admirable, is still off the path. And if we aren’t on the narrow path, what then? Well then we aren’t headed toward life.

What am I suggesting? Simply, that we aren’t actually the heros of our stories. But there’s a broader point here. One that the Lord pointed out to me when I was considering my family.

I come from a big family. I have seven siblings, and a large extended family. And recently I noticed that we each have our own “thing.” We have our own lives, but more specifically we have our own passions. And our passions are significant. Let me give some examples.

My parents are passionate about orphans and adoption. They’ve personally adopted three children (seen below), and they lead a ministry called Team 127, based on James 1:27.  Everywhere they look they see the needs of orphaned children across the world. And it seems that everything they hear reiterates God’s heart for these “forgotten little ones,” that God has by no means forgotten.

10488090_10204454109171409_2242976695648352482_n(Sister Lucy, Brothers Kaden and John-Merle, and Nephew Isaac, and Niece Sadie)

My Aunt Rhonda and Uncle Don are missionaries to European nations. They’re some of my favorite people to talk to as we carry very similar hearts for prayer and reaching the nations.

My older sister, Linsey, is one of my heros. I’ve always wanted to be like her and I still do. She’s one of the best moms I’ve ever met. Her methods of discipleship are practical. And she and her husband carry strong hearts for hospitality and simple obedience.

My brother, Kurtis, is a true servant leader. He’s 21-years-old, but is one of the men I most respect in my life. He’s has a heart overflowing in generosity, and he leads men both older and younger, because he walks his talk.

My uncle George (seen below) is a visionary, and runs a ministry at his church called “Love Works,” which reaches out to the local community in practical ways. He recently won a prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. award for his dedication to humanitarian service.


My cousin David is currently preparing to leave and be a part of a crisis intervention organization, because his heart is broken for the increase of terror happening in the Middle East. And my cousin Katie is passionate about supporting families who are dealing with chronic illness.

I could continue to talk about many other family members like my Aunt Bonnie, who’s always supported me in my endeavors, whether it was coming to a softball game when I was 9, or financially supporting all my trips overseas since I was 15.

This list is not even half my family, nor have I fully expounded upon all the ways they are truly the hands and feet of Jesus. I love the things they are doing. I’m so proud of them, and I want to share in what they’re passionate about. But can I? I mean how can I play a key role in each one of their stories and passions and maintain my own?

So here’s my larger point. It’s may be obvious, but it’s so crucial that I just need to say it, so that my own heart hears it. There’s truly something bigger than my little life going on. A universal story is  being played out. It spans all of time, and there is one hero, forever, and it’s Jesus. He gets the pedestal and he gets the throne. Because he’s the only one worthy of that title. The only guy who had everything, who legitly had the hero title, “but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant…and humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

Jesus glorious

And it’s a beautiful love story, because maybe surrendering the throne or hero title in your own life sounds ridiculous or hard (and infact it is); but Jesus is a hopeless romantic, and when we surrender our lives to him he invites us to be his valiant lover fighting at his side. So in other words I give up my own personal storyline, as the main character, to become a key role in a universal story that will last throughout eternity. This revelation makes everything I do a thousand times more significant.

Plus, my life suddenly becomes intertwined with those around me. My family’s passions are no longer individualized and separate from my own. Their lives are a part of my story, because my real story is God’s story. They each play key roles, that are absolutely needed in this grand narrative. And this gives me a restful spirit, because I don’t have the conquer the world on my own. I don’t have to prove myself through mountaintop experiences. And when my adventurous life quiets for a moment I don’t have to rush off to a foreign country, because in the steadiness of life I can better invest in the lives of those around me.


So maybe I’m not currently experiencing a “climax,” but in a month two of my best friends are getting married and I get to be a part of it. I get to share in the joy of two amazing people choosing to lay down their individual lives for a lifelong journey together. I’m not currently experiencing the joys (and terrors :)) of motherhood, but I get to be an aunt to my favorite kids in the world.

One final thought narrow-path-sun-rays-a

It’s interesting that the basics of Christianity are lay down your life, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. Yet so often I find myself and many others in a state of restlessness over finding or living our “callings.” My calling each day is very simple, lay down my own selfish ambition and do what Jesus does. Ah yes, that is the narrow path.

“Love looks like something”

Mother Teresa quote

Experiences in life are 4D. They aren’t linear, and there always seems to be four or five different themes going on at the same time. So when people ask me about Brazil, I either give them a few standard lines that I’ve said before, or if I can see they are looking for a more detailed response I usually ask them for a moment and then try and rack my brain for some sort of theme or experience I think might appeal to the person asking me.

For this post, I’m going to speak to one of the most powerful and practical “themes” of my time in Brazil. The title of this post is actually a Heidi Baker quote, “Love looks like something, yet it has no limits.” I can’t remember when I first heard this quote, but it’s the essence of a deep and confoundingly simple revelation I received while at the Iris Global school in Brazil.

I’m sure you probably can already guess where I’m headed with this, but let me ask a needed question. What’s the purpose of missionary work?

To feed the poor? Provide clean drinking water? Set-up a health clinic for a week? Maybe microfinance a small business?

OR maybe the more religious sounding answers, like preaching the gospel. Saving lost souls. And my heroic-sounding favorite, “advancing the kingdom of God.”

These are all awesome things, but maybe just slightly missing the real bull’s eye. I believe the purpose of missions is for people to have love encounters.

I know this sounds like blissfully simplified theology and/or fashionably hipster. But when you get it, like I got in Brazil, it’s compelling, supernatural, and deeply satisfying. Let me share a glimpse of how God revealed this truth to me.

There’s a place in Rio de Janeiro our school visited called Gramacho. Literally it’s a dump. A large landfill where garbage was dumped every day for 34 years until it closed in 2012. Thousands of people live in this place. Children grow-up here, and their parents make their living from the items they retrieve from the garbage. It’s an unimaginable life, for almost any American, and even most Brazilians. It’s a truly devastating situation.

Here’s the part that really got me though, at Gramacho people get “saved” frequently. Sometimes it’s even weekly. Christians come in, hand out some food, and the people “accept Jesus.” But their lives aren’t changed. They still live in the dump and their daily lifestyle isn’t any different than before.

Steph Gramacho

But some amazing heroes of mine are beginning to change that story. They are Brazilian Iris missionaries, who know Jesus, and know that He desires, more than anyone, to see this situation changed. They have built real relationships with the people living in Gramacho. They listen to their stories, they laugh together, pray together, eat together. And often they help meet physical needs as well, like caring for their wounds, giving them food, and taking them places. But their focus isn’t on what they are “doing” for the people of Gramacho. Their focus is truly loving them. And because of their genuine love, people are having supernatural encounters with the living God.

There are many stories of inspiring individuals I could tell you about, like Adriana (seen below) who encountered God supernaturally one day when Stephanie (an Iris missionary, who’s given up her career as a Brazilian model to serve and love these people full-time – shown in picture above) was simply talking and laughing with her. Adriana is now a powerful woman of prayer, she takes care of her seven children and her disabled mother, she runs a small store, she’s a preacher, and God has told her that she will not always be living in the dump. She has become like a spiritual mother to Stephanie and their bond of love for each other is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.



What’s also exciting is that God is providing ways for the people to literally get out of the dump. Land has been purchased, where houses will be built and Iris missionaries and many of the people from Gramacho will live together in these homes.

It’s hard for me to translate my experience in Gramacho through words alone. Because what’s going on there, the interactions between the Iris missionaries and the residents of Gramacho is something so special. It’s so real, that words alone can’t do it justice. It’s real love that’s happening, and it’s changing everything.

1 Corinthians 13 is probably one of the most famous chapters in the Bible. Paul goes through a list of really awesome things; like giving away all you have, and having faith to move mountains, and understanding all mysteries. And then he says, “but if I have not love, I gain nothing.” Why? Because love is the essence of God. Love is who He is, and it’s what He’s given us.

But what really is love? I don’t think I can sum it up much better than John did.

1 John 4:7-12 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

I used to think love was too simple and weak to really be the gospel. But then I’m reminded that God chooses the foolish and weak things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). I’m reminded that Jesus said that the whole Bible (which was the law and prophets back then) are summed up in two commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:36-40).

See people are hungry, poor, sick, and living in hopeless situations. But giving them everything they need to become a person of middle class wealth and health will not solve deeper issues. Neither will throwing a few Bible verses at them and saying a quick prayer. People need love, real love. And real love comes from one man, Jesus. Because there is no one else that loves like He does. He loved us and gave His life for us, while we were still His enemies. Love isn’t good feelings and goosebumps. Love is self sacrifice. And we who carry within us Jesus’ Spirit, must walk in that love. Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

(I listened to this 4-track Misty Edwards & David Brymer CD nonstop in Brazil. The songs are like the soundtrack to my time in Brazil. This song really sums up this post.)

Everyday God loves me, He loves me with all of Himself. And everyday He asks me to do the same. He asks me to love Him by loving His children. In John 21, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loved Him. Every time Peter said, “yes Lord, you know that I love you.” And every time Jesus responded then “feed my sheep.”

I don’t live out this revelation of His love. But I want to, more and more each day. Loving the one in front of me. Loving not in word or talk, but in deed and truth (1 John 3:18). This could look like smiling at the cashier at the grocery store, it could look like holding someone close and just listening, it could look like sharing material possessions, or giving that stranger a ride to the bus stop. It could look like verbally sharing truth through the word of God, or moving into the bad part of town to build relationships with single moms and people addicted to drugs. “Love looks like something, but it has no limits.” This revelation on love truly is so simple, that I almost feel silly that I never really “got it” before Brazil and Iris ministries. But I feel like He’s now given me “eyes to see” and with these new eyes He’s giving me the opportunity to love Him more, by loving His precious children. Not loving them with my own affection that is inclined to take and not give, but with His perfect, sacrificial, and steadfast love.

(A small taste of Iris Ministries)

The Secret of Being Content

Come close
Draw near
Stretch out your ear
And pull these words into that sincere resting place
That space beyond the frontal veneer
Where spiritual truths are all made clear
Where deep calls unto deep
His Spirit dwelling, who never sleeps
Into this sacred space I speak
Because words alone are futile and weak
We must lift up eyes to seek
The things that are above
Realities only experienced in love
See I have learned the secret of being content
Leaving the striving of discontent
The torment of trying to prevent or circumvent the realities of the present
So much of our current lives are spent in lament
Always looking for a person to house our vent
We dream of futures where daily struggle has ceased
With endless happiness unleashed
Fear and agony deceased
But I have learned the secret to being content
And it lies in the extent I relent from creating my own life
Strife is a promised reality
As common as gravity
Meant to reveal life’s vanity and humanity’s depravity
But I have learned the secret of being content
The peaceful assurance I’m called to represent
And it dwells within the space I’m speaking into
Where you begin to be renewed through all that is true
It’s hope
Assurance of things yet unseen
Causing me to lean into my new identity
Heavily pursuing this new reality
Which is Christ in me the hope of glory
He is the secret to being content
For him, to him, because of him my life is spent
For if I am brought low or abound in all good things
If my name is made great among all the world’s kings
If my family turns against me and my stomach found empty
If all my plans succeed and I live in plenty
If the mediocrity of life begins to gnaw at my dreams
Or I find myself living in all the extremes
Still my hope in him remains the same
His lovingkindness not due to change
His redemptive blood coursing through my veins
For by this blood, alive I became
So in all things, I have learned the secret to being content
He is my strength, much stronger than any cement
He knows all my weakness
He knows all my need
He will sustain this life he now leads
My treasure and pleasure is no longer attached to natural and material
For that life is brief and will soon makes its burial
But who I really am is eternal
I am more than merely mortal
Thus, my desire for words beyond verbal and external
Contentment is found in his rest given to us
Our inheritance received through the man Christ Jesus
For all abundance and lack found here on this earth
Can never be compared to his glory and his worth
In him is our life, our strength, our treasure, our trust
He is the secret
He is Jesus

Philippians 4:11-13

Why Brazil

I’ve shared a little bit of intro of why I’ve joined full-time missions staff at Gateway House of Prayer (more to come), but I’m going to veer off a little and talk about the most immediate thing that is happening in January.

I’m headed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

Why? Is Gateway sending you there? Are you doing nursing? How long will you be there? Do you speak Spanish?

I’m glad you asked. That’s why I’m here, to answer the questions that are lightbulbing off in your brain. Unless of course you’ve settled yourself on the likely theory of, “It’s Britt, she’s a free spirit, taking in all the opportunities she can to travel and do missions work.”


Well, around the beginning of August I had a night at work at Lancaster General Hospital, where I had the simple thought of, “I think I’m done with this job.” Slowly I began to look into jobs and contemplate what direction I was to head with nursing.

No job I looked into seemed right, and I was really just hoping the perfect job offer would come knocking at my door. It didn’t.

End of August I spent about a week out at International House Prayer, in Kansas City, and during my time there I felt like God really began to expand my vision. The boundaries of what I could do or where I could go were lifted, and people around me began to encourage me to dream and pray for big things, for the desires of my heart.

Through prayer I came to the understanding that I was supposed to quit my job and do something in January. The “something” was an open door of opportunity, which was exciting but a little nerve wracking because I just wanted to know what it was, so I could explain to people (and myself) where I was headed.

Along the way, I decided that my long term plan was going to be to join full-time missions staff at Gateway. Through talking to my parents I realized I still felt called to the House of Prayer for this season. But that didn’t answer the questions of where and what I was supposed to do in January.

My eyes and ears were open to where I might go, and I initially thought I was going to do medical missions work.

Then I had conversation with someone who began talking about Heidi Baker and as he was talking I was thinking, “Wow she sounds like a woman I would like to grow up to be.” So I went home and looked her up and found out about Iris Global ministries, founded by Heidi and her husband, Rolland. And as I looked up missions opportunities I found this global school in Rio de Janeiro. It was the first time it was ever happening, it was happening in January, and it was one month long.

Below is a description of the school, it was one of the first things I read. And after reading it I felt like a little kid in a classroom, after the teacher asks for volunteers, and I’m raising my hand saying, “Pick me! Pick me!”

“There is a new breed of missionaries being released across the earth, transparent saints, with oversized hearts, beating in rhythm with the heart of their Bridegroom King Jesus, carrying His glory across the earth. Fearless, laid-down lovers that know a love that has no boundaries, and are ready to run into the darkest places of the earth and bring in the lost, the dying, the poor and the broken. Jesus came with ceaseless love for both the one and the masses. Now we must do the same: stop for the one, but believe for the multitudes.”

It actually wasn’t immediately obvious to me that this was for sure where God was leading. But as I kept searching and praying it became clearer and clearer. The confirming point for me was when I was in the prayer room at Gateway one night and I was in turmoil asking God to confirm to me if I was to go to Brazil. Then one of my friends got up on the mic to pray and said, “Tonight we are going to praying for Brazil.” At that moment I realized that we had been praying for Brazil for the past several months, because human trafficking is on the rise due to the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. I got really excited in that moment, because it’s such an awesome opportunity to get to pray for a nation and then go there. It’s like being the answer to your prayers.


That’s the story. Here are the details.

It’s a global school, what that means exactly I don’t know. But I think it’s mostly going to be learning by doing. It’s called a school because it’s only a month long, so even though we will be doing a lot, it’s short term, so the emphasis is learning. I love this outlook on missions, because so often missions work is viewed as what “we,” the ones going, have to offer “them”. But that’s only half the story. God is doing amazing things all over the earth, especially among the poorest and unlikeliest. So I’m going to learn from the poor. Also the focus of the school is preparing people for third world missions, which is where I see myself in the future.

Will I be doing nursing? No and Yes. No, because its not a medical missions school. That’s not the focus. Yes, because I usually always end up doing medical work on trips and it’s one of the skills I had to list when applying for the school.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Do I know Spanish? I know a little, but that doesn’t even matter because they speak Portuguese in Brazil. Rio is the second largest city in Brazil. You probably have seen pictures of this beautiful city because one of the seven wonders of the world is there, the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor). Like most cities there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Rio is three hours ahead of eastern standard time.


Heidi and Rolland Baker are originally from California, but Iris ministries is based out of Mozambique and they have bases all around the world. Because of that there will be students in Brazil from literally all over the world.

I leave for Brazil January 7th and will arrive on the 8th. I will be there until the end of the month and then I will be spending a little over a week in Haiti. My close friend, Ashley Messersmith (pictured below), has been living there for 6 months teaching English, so I will be taking this opportunity to visit her.



I don’t know when and I don’t know for sure, but I believe one day I will live and minister in a third world country. I don’t have a clearly articulated answer as to why I feel that way. I know that as I get to know Jesus and His kingdom I see that “the least of these” are the people He especially loves, or at least the ones that He points out. He chooses the things unseen, the ones that are low and even despised of this world (Corinthians 1:26-31). He loves the orphan and widow (James 1:27), and many that are last now will be first in His coming Kingdom (Luke 13:30). Also to be honest these are the environments and cultures that I feel most at home in.

Amy Carmichael and Mother Teresa are two of my biggest heroes. There are so many famous quotes spoken and written by both of these women. Their words are so filled with truth that we can’t help to say “AMEN” in our spirits when we read and hear them. But the reason their words are powerful is because they lived their words. They lived lives abandoned to Jesus. Leaving lives they could have had to love the poor and the needy, because of the love of Calvary. I can’t help but be inspired by them!

“I had feelings of fear about the future…The devil kept on whispering, “’It’s all right now, but what about afterward? You are going to be very lonely’”….And I turned to my God in a kind of desperation and said “’Lord, what can I do? How can I go on to the end?’” And He said, “’None of them that trust in Me shall be desolate.’” That word has been with me ever since.” – Amy Carmichael on ‘weighing the cost’ of missions work

Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus. – Mother Teresa


*Would you consider partnering with me? I still need to raise about $1,000 for my trip to Brazil. Email me ( for more information, or Click Here to donate online. All support is tax deductible.