These past 2 1/2 weeks have been the most challenging in all of my life. Naively, up to this point, I was convinced school and health related issues were the absolute hardest hurdles I could overcome. However, since being here in La Jolla, I’ve realized that God is constantly growing me. We’ve also been talking about how a relationship with Jesus is not founded on feelings, but on a constant trust that despite the hard days, I still need to lean into God because He is unchanging. Because of the people in my community I have constantly been reminded that ¬†it is also possible to be faced with challenges and not live miserably. I have grown more in my faith in my short time here than during any other time period in my life.

I wish I could go into deep detail about every single day, but I could probably write a book and I’m obviously having trouble keeping consistent with my weekly updates. I’ll try to keep this update brief and highlight some key milestones so far.

On the eleventh day of being here I finally found a job at Pottery Barn Kids. As many of you know, I was convinced that based on my experience last summer as a YMCA camp counselor, I thought I had that job in the bag. That being said, I came expecting to attend the group interview only as a formality- I had a Skype interview prior to arriving here and felt pretty confident about having a job there. So, I thought I’d have two weeks to chill until training and camps started. (Because I assumed I had the job). I was so wrong.

I reached a point where my village leader lovingly reminded me that I am not beneath any position. And so, I started applying anywhere and everywhere. I camped out in a mall for about nine days and applied to over forty establishments. Only three interviews resulted from over forty applications. The reason why I’m here is to carry the gospel. My job is just a means for me to do that. I didn’t come here to improve my resume.

Since job hunting has ended, but work hasn’t started, I’ve been filling my time at the San Diego Food Bank. I am meeting so many awesome people there and having very fruitful conversations. This specific food bank feeds over 400,000 people. That is about 1/5 of San Diego’s population that is unable to afford food.

Many people wonder, why do a mission trip/ discipleship program in La Jolla, California? The answer is this: on a list of 117 top churchless cities, San Diego is number thirty-six on that list. It’s easy to assume that because a place seems wealthy or not seemingly poor, that it doesn’t deserve to hear the good news. I forget that La Jolla, California needs the gospel as much as Tijuana and Haiti. Any person who has not heard the good news needs the gospel. That is why we place so much emphasis on serving at our different churches and throwing beach parties on Sunday nights.

One thing that has been revealed to me as I dive deeper into community and DTs (Devotional Times) is that many times I believe the lies of Satan more than I believe the truths that God gives us in His word. This has not been an easy thing to learn, but realizing the root of the problem has been so so good. Right now

Prayer requests:

-Rest

-Casual conversations lead to gospel conversations and more friends at beach parties

-Understanding that the truth that is in God’s word and from God Himself trumps Satan’s lies.

-Selflessness. That I would always come full circle back to the gospel.

-Intentionality with new friends that haven’t become family yet.

 

Thank-you so much for bringing me here. Words cannot even begin to describe everything I’ve been learning and I can’t wait to have more in-depth conversations with you when I get back to Seattle and Pullman in the fall.

 

Kayla (a.k.a. ¬†Ku’Wanga)

P.S. I apologize for any spelling mistakes. I’ve been awake since around 6am and have been gone for most of the day. This project is taking me all over the city!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Bible, Travel, Writing

Elevate Update #3

Gallery
Bible

Heavy laden

*Do excuse my ramblings*

I serve.

I  serve people.

I  serve an extraordinary God.

Through serving with Isaiah 58, a homeless ministry based in downtown Seattle, I’ve learned that when you feed people food, you feed their souls, not their stomachs. It’s true. Come join me sometime and you will see.

Incredible.

I don’t know how else to describe the experience. While I don’t know most of these people’s stories, I wager that they’re lives are broken. Like mine. Their lives aren’t broken because of their homelessness or their unemployment or their hunger or their lack of material wealth. But because deep inside each and every one of us is a stubborn, independent nature. ¬†They carry their homes on their backs. Literally and figuratively. They long for one whose yoke is light. But like most of us, forget that there is already one who has offered to ease the weight and tension.

These people are  thirsty for eternal life. Hungry for the Jesus who loves them with a love so intense and passionate that we will never comprehend it.

I hunger and thirst for these things too.

I marvel at how such a perfect being could love me, as insignificant as I am. And then there is the baggage that I carry. Both emotional and physical. Someone in my math class said to me the other day, “wow Kayla, I never realized how huge that bag looks on you.”

He was talking about my backpack of course, but I wondered, could this be a reflection upon my lack of  dependence?

I must admit, I’ve been living out of the bag that carries all of my burdens. I naively believe that I’m able to do it all. Inside this bag ¬†contains some regrets, my broken past, fragments of my crushed heart and a load of insecurities. ¬†In addition to those things, are textbooks and to do lists.¬†¬†At the bottom is my Bible. I carry it with me, but I don’t crack it open as often as I should. It’s more of an extra weight than the uplifting, filling, soul food that it’s meant to be.

A lifeline. That’s what God’s Word is. A reminder of how even the best of people—including ¬†Jesus Himself—struggled as much as myself.

The wonderful news is that I don’t have to. Where in the bible does it read

Rule #1: Must carry pack around at all times. Be sure it is filled to the brim and ripping at the seams.

Why do I forget this so often? ¬†Isn’t¬†sitting up on the clouds shaking his head down at me saying “tsk, tsk, Kayla is such a pathetic human being.” I am weak, but I am continually valued and treasured. God is not looking to smite me. Certainly he wouldn’t have sent his son to die for me if that were his intention.

Our sweet Jesus uses those fragments¬†¬†like shards of glass and bits of pottery to create a beautiful mosaic–each piece a testament to our stories of healing.

Lay your burden down at the feet of the Potter who desires nothing else than to lift whatever it is weighing down our spirits.

-Kayla

 

Standard
Bible, Blog Series, Writing

Reading The Bible Is Hard

Reading the Bible is hard.

I won’t lie, some days, I just don’t feel like reading the Bible.

Occasionally, I’ll use the excuse that I shouldn’t read it when apathetic. But I’ve realized that’s pretty pathetic–as most excuses are. That’s like saying I’m only going to read the New Testament because it’s more “relevant” or “understandable.” If I based my habits around this then I’d pick and choose passages and never allow myself be challenged by God’s Word.

My problem is that before I even open up to a book I expect words to just come flying off at the page at me.

I’m sure I’m not the only one with these sentiments.

In an earlier post, I mentioned how I am fasting from Facebook for¬†Lent. ¬†What I’ve discovered is that it’s much easier to fast from something than to fast and make an intentional effort to grow spiritually during that time.

That being said, I’ve decided to try something new that will hopefully help re-ignite my passion for God’s word. I’m going to write out the book of Ephesians.

I’m not sure what I’ll learn, or if I’ll learn anything at all from studying the scripture in this way.

But Paul is cool and I like writing letters so there’s that too.

I was kinda sorta inspired by¬†Lucas Chadwick¬†who, in 2012 set out on a journey to write out the entire Bible. It’s a crazy cool project and you should definitely check out his Facebook page.

-Kayla

P.S.

I’d love to hear any stories about how you grew closer to God through his word. Join me on this challenge?

Standard
Bible, Blog Series, Writing

Hope Is Hard

Hope is hard. It’s a fact of life.

But hope is also beautiful. It means we’re choosing to believe that there is indeed a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. That, my friend, is no easy feat.

Hope is counting on and clinging to what we cannot see. Hope is what we grab hold of as we’re searching for peace in the middle of a war. Hope is not always comforting, but sometimes it’s all that’s left.

If hope were a person, I wonder what he’d say or what he’d do. I’d like to believe that he’d take my hand and say “here’s my hand, you can squeeze it.” Hope would know that if I can’t change my present circumstances, I’m better off knowing I don’t need to endure the battle ahead alone.

Faith and hope work closely together. Without faith, how could we hope? ¬†How else could we confidently say,”everything will work out.” Hope is the product of faith in something. In anything. In anyone.

C.S. Lewis once said that “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.” Sounds a lot like hope doesn’t it?

Not everyone may believe in God or a supernatural being, but it’d take an incredible amount of convincing for someone to tell me they didn’t have hope. We hope in our friends, our family, our circumstances. In tangible things.

However, I’ve found the most beautiful sort of hope is that which can’t be seen or heard or touched, but still believed in.¬†

-Kayla

Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Standard
Bible, Writing

The Church Is Not A Building

The church is not a building.

I’ve always loved this concept. The church is not a building, rather, it’s a community of Christ followers. However, I came to the realization yesterday that the only place I’ve ever heard this concept discussed, is at church. The building. The sanctuary. In the pew. The irony of that fact hit me hard.

I was at college.

I attend a public community college. I wasn’t in chapel or in a theology class.

God moves everywhere. The bible study at my school,¬†Ignite Fellowship,¬†meets multiple times during the week. I haven’t been able to attend often because of a wacky schedule.

By God’s grace I was able to attend yesterday. It was beautiful. We met in a study room. Put our bibles on the conference tables in front of us.We sang a few worship songs and after that, we shared communion. We borrowed a small table and set it up in front of the small room and covered it with a table-cloth. A plate and goblet were set out.

In that moment, I had a revelation. When Jesus communed with his disciples as they were partaking in the Last Supper, they weren’t in a church building. No ordained pastor officiated it. I doubt anyone was dressed in their church clothes.

The last supper wasn’t pretty. I imagine the filthy dirt floors and Jesus and his devoted followers sitting around. I’m sure they were weary from going everywhere on foot. A steak dinner surely would have been accepted without a word. Nonetheless all that sat before them was a loaf of bread and some cheap wine. These twelve men had been everywhere with Jesus. And yet their going away party was anything from glamorous. In fact, right off the bat, Jesus puts forth a disclaimer: “one of you is going to betray me.” (John 13:21).

Their meeting was somber. Tears were shed. I’m sure some felt a sense of abandonment and definitely confusion.

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28

Why do we create limitations? The church was a body of believers long before it was a building. Jesus is the head of the church, not a building. If we forget the people part,we forget Jesus’s heart. He loved people.

I find it hard to see how the true gospel will effectively be shared if we (if I)¬†don’t live the gospel.

If we try harder to envision Jesus’s last supper, maybe then we will fully understand how important it is.

Watch out, the church is leaving the building.

-Kayla

Standard
Bible, Writing

Stepping Away (for awhile)

This year I decided to participate in the Catholic holiday that is Lent. I’ve always admired people who have fasted from something (or even multiple things) for such a long period of time. For me, forty days could easily feel similar to forty years.

I’m not catholic nor do I have anything against catholic and in the big picture none of this has anything to do with Catholicism anyways.

I adore creating excuses. So much that I create excuses for creating excuses. (This is a skill). That being said, making the decision to commit to fasting for 40 days was a big deal. If anything, this experience will hopefully teach me to be honest with myself.

I took a look at a list of the¬†25 most popular things¬†people give up for Lent. It’s quite interesting. Many aren’t very unusual. Chocolate, sweets, that sort of thing.

I chose Facebook.

I could come up with a million reasons why, but I’ll try to whittle down the list. Here are two things I struggle with that are made worse by social media (specifically Facebook):

  • Jealousy
  • Comparison

These two often go hand-in-hand and often end in an attitude of doom and gloom.

Sometimes, starting your day off by skimming through engagement pictures and watching your friends one by one change their relationship status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’ isn’t healthy. It just isn’t. Not because marriages are bad or relationships are bad, but because maybe it’s not what’s best for me right here in this moment.

When ‘everyone’ A.K.A those two or three people filling up your news feed seems to be doing something you aren’t it’s waay to easy to second guess my own actions. Starting off the day criticizing myself is probably not the best way to bring about a good ending.

If we’re friends on Facebook (and if we’re not), it should be clear that I’m not the type to limit my status updates to only grand spectacular events occurring in my life. Let’s be real. Everyday isn’t perfect, so why pretend that it is?

I’m not the perfect student. I’m a hard-working student, but not necessarily the one ringing in all 4.0’s. When the end of a quarter comes around, I tend to beat myself up over the fact that I, unlike ‘everyone’ else didn’t get as many 4.0’s as I should have.

As I said before, these are only two focuses. And the big picture isn’t Facebook. Or relationships. Or good grades. If you’ve been reading my posts, hopefully you’ll have noticed that their topics may vary, but I always attempt to pick out the life application. I don’t want you to read this a post, see that whatever is written is only applicable to me, and go on with your day. I desire more out of my writing than that.

Ultimately, by the end of these full forty days, I want to choose joy over jealousy and comparison. I want to rejoice in others when they are happy, not plaster on a fake smile. I do not believe the myth that if my friends Facebook timelines are perfect, so are their lives. For me, it’s an easy lie to believe.

Lent should be about giving something up to invite God in and fill what was before an empty space, temporarily gratified. Leave room for God.

Question to ponder: If God is the absolute best, why don’t we choose Him above all else every time?¬†

-Kayla

Standard
Bible, Writing

Mark it Up!

I don’t know about you, but…

I write in my Bible.

A lot.

I mark it up.

Maybe it’s simply because I love annotating and post-it notes, and highlighters and journals and gel pens.

Maybe not.

God gave his word to US to devour and share and hide in our hearts.  How incredibly blessed we are with this gift?!

We need to SOAK IT UP.

We need to make it personal.

“A bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”

Charles Spurgeon

Our Bibles can’t stay on our nightstands collecting dust.¬†I realized how important making our Bibles personal when I left my Bible at church on Sunday. I could have borrowed a Bible or used one of numerous others lying around my room and house, but there is something about the bible we use on a consistent basis that helps us dive into the Word with a profound eagerness. In my bible I’ve written prayers, scrawled in the margins, asked questions and made comments. It’s practically a journal.

I’m resolving, TODAY, that I’m gonna be in the word more, because frankly, I haven’t been too appreciative lately of the fact that God gave it to ME to use! I look to everything else except what’s right in front of me, readily available. Aside from giving himself to me Jesus has given me the truest form of wisdom to be found.

“…he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Hebrews 11: 6

Will you resolve to seek Him as well?

-Kayla-

I appreciate your feedback! Comment below and tell me what you think (:

Standard
Bible, Writing

Jesus is Love.

So I started this list.

I was trying to remind myself of what love is exactly. Because let’s face it. As Christians, we should see love differently than the way the world sees it. Naturally, out of habit, I turned to 1st Corinthians 13.

I started thinking (surprise!)

Jesus is love. If Jesus is love, we can learn how to love by looking at Jesus’s life–as well as his followers.

Love is not sex. Love is not an emotion. Love is not having a boyfriend. Love is not being married. Love is joy in Christ.

Love is unconditional. Love loves when we aren’t feeling loved.

Love is not jealous.

Love is sacrifice.

Love forgives.

Love is embracing.

Love is welcoming.

Love is hospitable.

Love serves without reason.

Love turns the other cheek.

Love gives second chances.

Loves sees the good and learns from the bad.

Love is unconditional.

Love is unfailing.

Love is understanding.

Love is faithful.

Love is unfailing.

Love is grateful.

Love is hopeful.

Love is inclusive.

Love takes risks.

Love is patient.

Love is persevering.

Love is serving.

Love is joyful.

Love is persevering.

Love loves their enemies.

The greatest of these is love.

How else is Jesus love?

-Kayla-

Standard
Bible, Writing

Surrender

To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely for Him and for Him alone.

Oswald Chambers

Standard
Bible, Writing

Embracing the Unexpected

Peace

Unexpected

*Surgery and a month-long recovery

* Cold turned-sinus infection

Expected

*Expectations

*Responsibilities

Promised

*Grace

*Second chances

Jesus Calling, November 4th

by Sarah Young

Walk peacefully with Me through this day. You are wondering how you will cope with all that is expected of you. You must traverse this day like any other: one step at a time. Instead of mentally rehearsing how you will do this or that, keep your mind on my presence and on taking the next step. The more demanding your day, the more help you can expect from Me. This is a training opportunity, since I designed you for dependence on your Shepherd-King. Challenging times wake you up and amplify your awareness of needing my help.

When you don’t know what to do, wait while I open the way before you. Trust that I know what I’m doing, and be ready to follow My lead. I will give strength to you, and I will bless you with peace.

Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 33:25; Hebrews 13:20-21; Psalm 29:11.

Embrace the unexpected journeys. Keep in mind the spectacular view from the mountaintop. Your journey is not the same as others. Cross out the words “always” “everybody” “perfect” and “failure” from your vocabulary lists. Remind yourself that if you continue to make attempts at living up to another’s expectation for what should be God’s plan for your life, you will never be happy. Worrying displays a lack of faith in God. He desires to do whatever it takes to ¬†“wake you up.” You are only human. Nobody is perfect the first time around. Or the second time. And even the third time. Rejoice in new mercies each morning.

-Kayla-

Standard