Elevate 2016-Fundraising Letter

Hey Friends!

About two months ago, God placed it on my heart to spend my summer in California. While this may sound like a no-brainer, easy decision for some, those who know me well know that I have always felt most comfortable close to my home and family.

Back in January I was invited to a dinner for budding leaders. It was there that God placed a desire in my heart to attend Elevate this summer. Elevate is a 10 week-long summer project through my church Resonate here in Pullman.

During the first two weeks of our program, all of our energy will be poured into acquiring a job in La Jolla, California. Our work place will be our mission field and will give us a platform through which we can build relationships with our coworkers and share with them the beautiful story of how Christ can change their lives forever!

In addition to working, throughout the week members of our tema will learn how to live missionally, and in community. We will learn the tools we need to be fully equipped leaders in the church and host Village (small group/bible study). On the weekends, our main focuses are 1) church planting and 2)beach parties. The beach parties will be a safe and inclusive environment where we can invite our coworkers to have fun, and learn more about the gospel.

These are not just any ordinary beach parties. These parties are a way for us to continue fostering relationships with our coworkers.

The cost of living in San Diego California this summer is $3,500 + the cost of air fare. Securing my spot on the team alone requires a deposit of  $350. I was unable to support raise the cost of the deposit before the deadline, and so I paid this amount out of pocket. Thus far, I have only support raised $100.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to serve the community of La Jolla and grow in my faith. Please consider joining my financial team or my prayer team. Both are equally important. I strongly believe that God hears my prayers and yours, and will provide.

Would you consider donating $50, $75, $100, or some other amount to my trip? If you would like to join me in this, please make your check payable to “Resonate Church” and put “Elevate” in the memo line. You may return your check to me or send it directly to Resonate Church: P.O. Box 1605, Pullman, WA 99163. Please don’t put my name on the check, but rather include a slip of paper directing it be applied toward me and my trip.

There is also a way to give online http://resonate.net/elevategive. If you prefer to mail the check to me, instead of directly to the church, please personal message me for my address.

Prayer requests:

-My Skype interview with the La Jolla YMCA would be successful (once scheduled).

-I would catch up on fundraising. The deadline for all $3,500 is April 21st!

-The rest of the school year would go well

-Bonding between our team would go well.

P.S. Your donation is tax deductible, but non-refundable. 

Update 03/24/2015: $2,994.96

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Two years later

Photo: Luke White
Photo: Luke White

In July of 2012, I travelled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti with a small team of  high school and college students from Northshore Community Church.Our initial goal was to partner with a small orphanage located in one of the most poor and dangerous city in the world.

On that twelve day trip, I met an amazing man named Windy Sauver. He had a passion for the children of Cite Soleil and a huge heart for Jesus.

He had an enormous impact on my outlook on life and my relationship with Jesus.

Windy is the most joyous person I’d ever met. His wide smile revealed pearly white teeth. When he thought no one was looking, I’d find him wearing his headphones and jamming to Imagine Me by Kirk Franklin.

At the time of our visit, Windy was also incredibly ill. Windy, unable to access reliable healthcare, was taken under the wing of Jeff and Terry Clark, our team leaders. The Clarks both work in the medical field in the United States. The Clarks, who worked alongside medical organizations in the states finally concluded that Windy’s illness was most likely Leukemia.

On December 8th, 2012, Windy was finally able to see the face of his sweet Jesus. All of his earthly pain and suffering was finally removed and his body fully restored. My heart aches because I selfishly wish that he never had to stop listening to his gospel music and writing his book. However, I also am comforted because I know that he found solace and strength.

As someone also living with a disabling condition, I found his endurance, faith, and hope absolutely incredible. Ever since I had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, I consistently failed to believe that anything positive could come from my situation. His testimony gave me hope.

I relayed briefly these anxieties to Windy who bluntly stated  that I was lacking the faith I claimed to hold. It took some time, but I eventually realized that he was not reprimanding me for any doubt. I think doubt is inevitable. In my life, doubt has always motivated me to seek truth and reassurance.

Windy told me that all the time God is good.  I began to take his words to heart.Joy remains within reach and fear should never dominate our lives, especially if we claim to be followers of Christ.

All Things Considered

image4

Today I cried. It was the first time I had cried in a long time. At least from what I can remember and I haven’t been remembering too well lately. Short-term memory loss tends to make life difficult in that way. Anyhow, I cried and it felt really, really great. I cried first with my sister and then with my mom.

Moseying around our room at home today,  my sister asked me “are you OK?” I responded with “yeah, sorta, well actually no.” Cue tears. And she said that’s OK. Nothing is wrong with not having it all together. No one is asking or expecting you to be totally with it. I had a similar conversation with my mom. I am so thankful for these women in my life.

After coming home from spending two weeks in the hospital in Seattle, I wasn’t sure the kinds of emotions I would experience, but after one week in I’ve mostly felt overwhelmed. After being home for one week, there is still so much to process. That is to be expected.

Two weeks ago, I had a seizure that caused me to become unconscious. After not being able to communicate with me, my parents started reaching out to my school friends via Facebook. Finally, after sending my friend Andrew directly to my dorm room finding that I did not respond to his knocks, the police were called and the door to my room was broken down.

Before being flown to Seattle Children’s Hospital from Washington State University, where I had been enjoying my first semester.  I spent a short time in the ICU at Pullman Regional Hospital.

Things were bleak. I am no doctor, but I’m pretty confident that a lot of people were unsure of if or when I would wake up, and if so, what damage would follow?

Waking up, while clearly a great step towards recovery was nonetheless very confusing. I didn’t know where I was, who my parents were, or even what had happened.

In all of the confusion, there has also been  a lot of clarity. I’ve had to rely and trust entirely on Jesus and my doctors. Jesus has shown me that my priorities are out of place and I also need to take it easier on myself. His presence has been so imminent. One of the workers in the hospital told me “I am so glad you have your faith!” I am too. I cannot even begin to imagine where I would be without my faith.

I have never felt so loved in my life. By God, friends, and complete strangers. I’ve also learned that just because God throws us curve balls in life and we don’t receive what, does not mean at all that he does not care for us. This is not the case at all.

I feel strongest in my weakest moments. People have been calling me “miracle child” and more commonly, “fighter.” And while I know this is meant to be flattering, I rarely ever consider myself either one. I call it being human. I am who I am because of hope. Side note: many people who follow my blog, read a blog post I wrote in March titled Hope is Hard. If this post interests you in any way, I’d also encourage reading my thoughts about hope as it is a topic I have brought up.

When people ask me how I’m doing and how I’m handling everything, my typical response has been along the lines of “All things considered, I am doing great!” However, internally, I’ve also recognized it’s perfectly healthy and normal to recognize that there have been large bumps in the road and recovery, especially emotional recovery, will only come with time.

Everyone, whether diagnosed with epilepsy or not faces trials and tribulations of various sizes. Sure, the events which took place two weeks ago my not occur to everyone, but everyone has a story-one that is unique!

No matter what I write about, storytelling almost always becomes incorporated. I write and share with you only because I hope that it’ll prompt you to do the same! So tell me, what’s your story?

Life is Crazy and Writing is Hard

The most busy and awesome week of my life has been the week I moved out of my house and on to college. The night before I left, I wrote a post concerning transition.  The only reason why I know today’s date is because it’s a holiday weekend and I don’t have school tomorrow. I’m already procrastinating on my first paper of the semester. Rather, I’m taking much too long write a two-page paper. I’ll give myself credit for having completed a shitty first draft.    I didn’t realize I was still in summer mode. The first week of upper level classes flew by so quickly. I’m the junior-transfer student who has an academic advantage on other students, nothing more!

These past eleven days I’ve shaken more hands of more people than I’ve ever met at one time. Additionally, I’ve introduced myself to some individuals not once, but twice. Laughter has been unavoidable. I’ve said yes to some event or get together pretty much every single night since I arrived here. A football game, volleyball, dinner, sing-along movie night etc. At one point during these past few days I must’ve blinked because I feel as though I just arrived here. Only yesterday did I finally take out the very last cardboard box to the dumpster.

I’m becoming somewhat acclimated. It’s only under sixty-six degrees this evening and I’m shivering in my dorm room, ready to break out the sweatpants. I was actually able to sleep under all of my covers last night and turn off my fans. Progress.

While this new part of my life is thriving,  I  am failing recently to put forth effort into my writing, which I proclaim to love. My relationship with words is more of the love-hate type. Writing is certainly  easier said than done.  A recent trend in my posts has reflected an obvious struggle in simply sitting down and putting my pen to paper-or in this case, fingers to keys. There is no doubt that a resistance is present. And also winning.

 A Few Excuses I’ve Made to Not Write

  • Time-there isn’t enough
  • I’ll never stand out
  • My story isn’t important
  • I’m not progressing and growing
  • I don’t have money to invest into my website

The excuses mentioned above are hardly justifiable. Boy how I wish they were. To clarify, never do I lack a topic to write about. Many believe that writer’s block is due to the absence of subject matter. I’m learning that this is not the case. It’s pure laziness.

At lunch today, my friend Megan asked me “So are you just writing all the time?”

I was honored that she’d think I’m so disciplined as to maintain a disciplined writing habit. Unfortunately, I could not respond affirmatively and call myself an honest person.

*Gulp.*

I responded something along the lines of “Ummm… yes? Well, sort of, like if I’m not writing I’m thinking about what I’d like to be writing. I mean, lately, not really.”

Not exactly a straightforward answer. And lemme tell you, this isn’t the first time recently these encounters have occurred. I’m always thankful for friends who ask me these questions. The hard ones. Only hard questions provoke action.

I’m writing today because life is crazy and writing is hard-even when life isn’t so insane. I don’t have anything profound to share, but I tend to relate best with people who share their stories from day-to-day life.

There. You are all updated on my life. If you are new here, welcome. Old friends, it’s so good to see you again.

 

Until next time,

Kayla

 

When Transition is Absolutely Necessary

 

Creative Commons// Darin Marshall

I am back! These past couple of weeks have been rather busy these past couple of weeks wrapping up my summer classes and tearing apart my room. Since I’m in the currently in the middle of a transition, I’ve decided to share with you my thoughts, and why I personally believe transitions are important!

Before I go any further, you should know that I despise packing. I’ve always been one to over-pack. It’s really silly because I could bring everything with me to wherever I’m going and still be convinced that I don’t quite have everything I need. For me,  traveling is never enjoyable until the moment I actually arrive at my destination. Nonetheless, transition and change are very healthy. Moving is hardly enjoyable, but it forces me to re-evaluate my life. Putting my life into boxes is a wonderful reminder of what I value. Trust me, I’ve spent the past two weeks attempting to determine what I consider the bare necessities-turns out those items are practically everything in my closet. Ha! While discussing this with a friend she commented “it takes a move.” It really does. I’m not sure about you, but aside from a light spring cleaning, I don’t annually do a deep cleanse of square foot of my room. I’m just not a clean freak.I somehow managed to fit all of my belongings into the car. Well, my brother did most of the strategic packing, but I was an overseer of the whole operation. Trust me, had you been able to catch a glimpse of the trunk of our suburban, you would understand why this was such an incredible feat. I’m sure some of you resonate with my potential dilemma.

Change doesn’t scare me. I’m simply not in the habit of taking new risks and attempting new things. I constantly tell myself that this should not be so.  I suppose moving out of the house that I’ve lived in for ten years is a perfect opportunity break open that cozy cocoon of comfort. I may only be six hours away from home, but I may as well be in a different world in Pullman, Washington. Over the mountains and through the woods to Washington State University I go!

Transitioning is not easy because there is no telling what the future holds. But I promise you, change  is absolutely necessary. Necessary for growth and perseverance and also for fun!  There comes a time to start fresh and move upward and onwards. When you’ll discover when that is, I don’t know. You may not know either-at least not yet. Undoubtedly, it will be both easy and hard and with its own ups and downs. That is obvious.

You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips.

Airplanes and passports  and

New songs and old songs, but

People more than anything else.

You will need other people.

And you will need to be that

Other person to someone else,

A living, breathing, Screaming

invitation to believe better things.

-Jamie Tworkowski-

People are important. I deeply desire for everyone to find community. I’ve learned a lot about those deep bonds and the importance of both having friends and also being a friend.

Thank-you for continuing to read this blog and be a part of my story, despite my inconsistency and imperfections. If you write, surely you understand how impossible some writing days are. But whoever you are and whatever you do,  I really cannot express how much your readershipmeans to me. I’m excited to update you all on this exciting new adventure that is university!  Knowing that you care about what I have to say is what keeps me going. If you’re going through a transition, embrace the challenge, you’ll grow and learn from these new experiences.

 

Much love,

Kayla

 

P.S. I’ll be continuing with my next reading list very soon. I’ll be back after my move!

Pause. Breathe. Decompress.

More than convinced. I was more than convinced that while on vacation, I would get an incredible amount of writing done. I’d write everyday in my leather travel journal and share all the details with you, my readers, the very moment the plane ascended, the blue Wi-Fi light turned on, and I trudged into the chilly terminal in Seattle. After all, I somewhere in the description of this blog, I threw something in there about loving to travel, right?!

I’m sure, at some point in time, I will talk about my crazy Hawaiian adventure. But on this particular vacation, more than any other trip in recent years, I realized just how hard it is for me to live and breathe and function in the moment. I’m sure , whoever you are and whatever you, you can relate to this feeling. No matter how hard you try, there always seems to be a thought lingering at the back of your mind. A task on your To-Do list, which hasn’t been completed yet. An e-mail you need to respond to. A phone call you need to make. A conversation which needs to be held with a friend or family member.  You get the idea. It’s too easy, in the midst of all the bustle and hustle to forget to pause.

For me, personally, writing is my best escape. Not only do I take the chance to pause and write, but because I decompress at the same time. So when I say writing isn’t going all that hot, it means I’m stopping to pause, but all those crazy thoughts are building up inside of my head. And with nowhere to go, the pausing and breathing doesn’t do too much good.

That being said, last night, I finally started out my crazy thoughts. With no intention of anything being perfect or even making sense. The random nonsense probably isn’t blog worthy. However, there’s power in putting words on paper. It restores some sanity. Especially when we can’t always hop on a plane and escape to the beach. That vacation taught me the importance of creating a consistent sabbatical. Whether that be Sunday or Wednesday  is not important. Perhaps frequent staycations are the answer.

How do you carve out time in your day to pause? Feel free to share in the comments below.

 

Enjoy this long weekend! Don’t forget to Pause. Breath. Decompress.

 

-Kayla

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excuses Excuses

Creative Commons/ Alan Cleaver https://flic.kr/p/7NcEL3

Writing is hard a habit.

This happened last weekend:

“So, you keeping up with your writing?”

*Squirm*Cough*Eyes downcast*

Out come the excuses. “Well school, y’know, it’s hard to make time.” Blah blah blah. Sometimes I wonder if I should have chosen a career involving more public speaking. I’m good at obnoxiously rambling. I’m sure I looked quite pathetic.

It’s a bad deal y’all.

I was asked this question at a graduation party last weekend. To say my response was vaguely pathetic would be an understatement.  when talking to someone you haven’t seen in several months, it’s more than tempting to sugar coat things.

I didn’t quite sugar coat things, but I didn’t quite tell the truth which would be: no, not really.

A blog post here and there doesn’t exactly count as writing.  True writing is a habit. Habits require a person to make time. Nobody  has the time. It’s a choice to get up early or stay up late or forgo any bit of free time you have to simply veg out.  It is important I point out that “free time” is different for everybody. Maybe it’s your thirty minute bus commute or your lunch break  or while you’re eating you’re waiting for your coffee to finish brewing.

You may be wondering why I write so many personal reflections. I’m a relational person. I also learn a lot from people who are down to earth and totally transparent. I’d say more so than someone who sits down and says “so this is the right way to live life.” It’s important to establish credibility. No matter if you write or blog or whatever you do. It’s always good to be real.

Anyhow, back to my writing (or lack thereof), I need to up my game.  I keep saying I’ll do so in the near future. But let’s be honest.  I push a lot of things to the future. It’s easier to do so because it means I don’t need to do anything. This is me vowing I’ll try harder, regardless of the fact that it’s practically finals week. There will always be something trying to get in the way of what I love, but if I say I love it, then I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure I continue working hard at it.

Whatever it is you love, DO IT.

Today is the start of a new week, filled with new opportunities.

-Kayla

 

 

Ode to Boots

Mark Sebastian, Creative Commons
Mark Sebastian, Creative Commons

 

Ode to Boots

My grandma gave me a pair of boots

chosen by herself especially for me.

 

Two durable covers smooth

as saddles.

 

The mustard colored leather

keeps me a firm grip

on the ground.

 

They promise to carry me anywhere.

 

I showcased the gift the way

I imagine Cinderella modeled her

glass slippers.

 

My boots appoint me

a royal adventurist.

 

With wool socks,

my feet become two tough vehicles

 

with the power to bring me to

any destination my heart

so desires.

 

They smell of asphalt and dirt,

of course gravel and dark mulch.

Sweet grass and dust.

 

They have danced down empty

hallways and bustling stairwells.

Kicked dead leaves and hopped puddles.

 

Many steps are left in their lifetime.

All I know is where I have been,

not how far I will go.

 

The path ahead remains a mystery.

 

-Kayla

P.S. Do you have any adventures planned?

 

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