November 17 Prayer Requests

As you may or may not know, 17 is one of my favorite numbers because my birthday is on the 17th of April. That’s why I chose the 17th of each month to be my prayer update day. BUT yesterday, November 16th, is a very special day as well. It’s my REbirthday! I turned 19 years old in Jesus yesterday, and I’m so grateful for the growth that He continues to develop in me year after year.

Here are some ways you can be praying this month:

  • This weekend our team is taking a retreat near Lake Trasimeno in Umbria! We’ll be discussing team dynamics, our individual strengths, and how we work together. Please be praying that this will be a fruitful time of getting to know one another better, hearing from the Lord, and resting in the beauty of His creation.
  • My roommate/teammate Esther and I have joyfully begun to use our apartment for hospitality and ministry and we are so excited to see how God is going to use this. We’ve already hosted 2 nights of prayer and worship and we’re planning to organize our schedule to do them regularly, probably every other week. Pray that this initiative will be all about glorifying Christ, being sensitive to the Spirit, and hearing from the Father. We’re expectant that the Lord is going to do something big in and through His Body here in Rome!
  • I feel very strongly about the need for discipleship for new believers, so I am working on finding a few girls from church to meet with regularly for prayer, study, and growth together. Please pray that the Lord will direct me to the right relationships and that faith and obedience will flourish.

Thank you for praying with me last month! Here are some updates on past requests:

  • The Radiant Treasures Alliance (ATR) conference for anti-trafficking on October 29th in Bologna went beautifully! It was a wonderful day of collaboration and celebration of what the Lord has done and is continuing to do. Please continue to pray for the growth of our ministry Slavery No More, for more opportunities through new partnership, and for eyes to be opened and hearts to be softened.
  • Our church event with the local Muslim community went well. It was an interesting debate and presentation of ideas that gave a good occasion for discussions. Please pray for more opportunities for events like this in the future.
  • Esther has been doing great with her transition, is fully embracing language, and has jumped into all kinds of ministries and responsibilities. We’re really grateful for her! And our newest teammate, Josh, just arrived last week! He’s dealt with hardly any culture stress (praise the Lord!) and is already getting plugged in to life in Rome. Please pray that he’s able to find a more permanent place to live with good roommates soon! And keep praying for Lauren K as she continues support raising. We’re ready for her to get here too!
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Josh, Esther, Lauren D, and Heather

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October 17 Prayer Requests

Happy October! Fall is officially here, as are cooler temps and “change of season” colds. Before I share my prayer requests for the month, here are a couple praises!

The Lord has graciously given me peace during this time of transition. As I continue to fit back into life in Rome, the transition is getting easier and easier. I am feeling more settled and that is partly because…

I found an apartment! It was an intense month of searching and appointments, then God dropped this gift in my lap. It’s spacious, has everything I was looking for, is in a central area of the city, and fits the budget! We signed the contract 2 weeks ago, and I’m so grateful to have a place to call home, a space that’s my own. I’m currently working on this post from the coffee bar/restaurant that is literally under my apartment. Counting all the little blessings!

And some requests:

  • Tomorrow (October 18th) is the 10th annual EU Anti Trafficking Day. Please pray for continued reform across Europe (and the world), for God to move in people’s hearts, for the victims, and for all the movements that are taking a stand against trafficking in human beings. In Rome, we are beginning to ramp up activities with our anti-trafficking ministry Schiavitù Mai Più (Slavery No More). This Saturday (October 22nd) we will be having an informational meeting for those who are interested in learning more about the problem of modern day slavery and how they can get involved in combatting it. We are praying for more local Italians to be moved to action. We also have the second annual gathering for the Associazione Tesori Raggianti (Radiant Treasures Alliance) on October 29th, which will bring together individuals and ministries fighting trafficking from all across Italy. This event will take place in Bologna, instead of Florence like originally planned, because there are so many people interested in coming that a large space was need!
  • This week (Thursday, October 20th), our church has an event in which our pastor will dialogue with a local Muslim leader, answering the question: Can religion contribute to world peace? We had a similar event a couple years ago with a Buddhist leader. It was done very well, everyone was very respectful, it brought in a lot of people who were intrigued, and it gave people the chance to start conversations and ask good questions. We are praying that this event will be just as impactful.
  • Please continue to pray for adjustments and transitions. Esther just arrived a few weeks ago, is in the middle of a huge transition, and starts language school this week. Josh has his visa appointment this week, still needs a bit of support, and is planning to depart on November 7th. Lauren K has made amazing progress toward her start-up costs, is still needing partners in ongoing support, and is hoping to join us SOON! Pray for these interns as they transition, and pray for the rest of us on the Rome City Team as we come alongside them and seek to help them adjust well.

September 17 Prayer Requests

What a month it has been! God continues to provide beautifully for everything that I need. I arrived in Rome safely on the morning of September 9th with all of my luggage (praise the Lord!), had a bit of a rough few days getting over jet lag, but every day feels more like Home Sweet Rome.
This month’s requests:
  • Pray for continued adjustment in this time of transition as I ease back into life and ministry here in Roma. Pray for encouragement when transition is hard, for trust in the Lord’s plans, and for reminders of the call and the vision and the passions He has given me.
  • Pray for my apartment search! I am looking for a suitable place to settle into and call home. I’m hoping to find something by the time our intern Esther gets here in a couple weeks because we will be living together.
  • Pray for health in all areas (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual).
  • Pray for sweet time spent with Jesus and that I would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading as I step back into old roles and take on new roles in ministry.
Thank you for your dedication to supporting me and the work that God is doing through the Rome City Team with your fervent prayers! He hears you! And He is doing big things!

August 17 Prayer Requests

It’s that time again! My 17th of the month prayer requests. First off, let’s start with praise!

In my last post, I mentioned my sticky visa situation. On Thursday, I checked for available appointments again out of curiosity, and a spot had opened up for THE NEXT DAY. So I dropped everything else I was doing, got my paperwork in order, and headed to Houston bright and early on Friday morning. My friend and teammate Josh came with me to see where to go and what to do when he has to apply for his visa, and to make the drive more fun. We even got to skype with our teammate Esther on the way there and have a virtual roadtrip with her!

Houston Visa Trip

Friends don’t let friends roadtrip alone.

There were no complications, and on Monday morning I picked up my passport with my new visa in it from the post office! Praise the Lord!

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I am so grateful and in awe of the ways that the Lord has provided. He just keeps reaching down and quieting my heart, reminding me to trust Him, and wrapping me up in His presence.

So my prayer requests for this month mostly revolve around my forthcoming transitions. TWENTY-TWO DAYS from now, I will be on an airplane headed back to my heartland. Here are a few of the things that I am praying about in regards to returning to Rome:

  • Saying Goodbye See You Later – Pray that my last few weeks in the States are spent well, enjoying every moment I can with family and friends.
  • Safe Travels – Pray for uneventful flights and zero complications with layovers, luggage, etc.
  • Language Learning – Pray for easy transition back into using Italian everyday. I’m so looking forward to being immersed in this language again, but I’m sure that I am going to be a little rusty after being in the States for nearly a year and a half.
  • Apartment Hunting – Pray for the place that I will call home! I have been searching online for apartments and I can’t wait to check out listings in person once I arrive. I really want to find a place that is accessible that I can use in the ministry of hospitality.
  • New Roles – Pray for the new responsibilities I will take on as our Team’s English Outreach Coordinator and for the roles that I will have in helping our interns adjust well to life on the Rome City Team.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
– Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV)

Peace in the Whirlwind

Deep breaths. *inhale* And let it out. *exhale* Ok, let’s begin.

Can I tell you how crazy the past few weeks have felt? If you know me very well at all, you will know that my Myers-Briggs type might as well be written with only one capital letter: inFp. I identify pretty clearly with most of the descriptors of this type, but more than any other aspect, I am absolutely a Feeler. I think with my heart, I am concerned about the way that my decisions will affect other people, I deeply desire harmony, and I process a LOT of emotions.

A few weeks ago, my team leaders told me that they wanted me to shoot to arrive in Rome at the beginning of September. Whoa! I am so excited to be getting back to life and ministry and all my dear people in Italy, but this was a sooner departure date than I had anticipated, and not going to lie, I freaked out a little bit.

I started mentally processing what transition back to Rome will look like, leaving my family and the dear community that I have formed here in my passport country. The States are home, but Rome is home too. Movement is such a strange feeling now, because I’m always going to people I love and leaving people I love at the same time.

We started getting things in order for this planned departure date of September 8th, and I started to calm down. By the first week of August, I had all my support necessary to fund my budget for two more years of serving on the Rome City Team! Cue all of the emotions about being fully funded! Then last Wednesday, I bought my plane ticket! Celebrations!

Then just this weekend, I was finally getting everything in hand to apply for my visa. But Sunday night when I went to set an appointment at the consulate, the whole month of August was red – NO APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE for the the rest of the month. I immediately prayed, “Lord, please present a solution. I don’t even know what to ask You to do, but please work something out!”

So here’s where we stand right now: Either the consulate will work with me somehow, I will be able to apply for my visa SOON, and I will continue with my plans to fly out on September 8th, OR I will go for a visa appointment on September 6th, I will pay the fee to change my flight, and I will depart toward the end of September. There is not a lot that I can do about it either way, and worrying is not going to help in the slightest.

So I am going to trust in the Lord’s timing. His peace that passes understanding has been SO comforting the last couple of days. Even when it feels like my emotions are riding a roller coaster, He will continue to be faithful.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
– Psalm 91:1-4 (ESV)

July 17 Prayer Requests

Over the past couple of weeks, my heart has been so heavy with the burdens of the world. The whole earth is aching. I know you feel it too. Please, just be remembering to pray for those that are hurting because of loss, terror, persecution, and all the attacks of the enemy. But also, do not let the enemy steal your joy or cause you to live in fear. Our God is so much bigger!

As I begin to make preparations for returning to Rome in a couple of months, I am starting to process what transition will look like and all the goodbyes I will have to make. I have developed such a strong community over the past year that I have been in the States, and with the tremendous blessing of this treasured community there will be a strong sense of loss when I leave. It is a beautiful thing to have people that you love in so many places all over the globe, but it makes all departures bittersweet. I will have to start these goodbyes already in the next couple weeks when my friend Kellie moves to Florida to work with the Jesus Film Project. Pray for her as she needs to raise the remainder of her support before leaving at the beginning of August.

And speaking of support… I am nearly 97% funded! That means that I have less than $200/month left to raise! Please, continue to pray with me that the rest of this support will come in within the next couple of weeks so that I can purchase my plane ticket and begin preparing my paperwork to apply for my visa.

And pray for these friends!

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Josh, Esther, and Lauren attended their final training this past week in Minneapolis. Pray for their continued effort in building their community of partners in ministry to support and encourage them as they prepare to join our team this fall.

Let us draw near to the Father’s heart, let us listen to the leading of the Spirit, and let us walk with Jesus, shining the light of His presence into the world around us.

June 17 Prayer Requests

It’s the 17th of the month again. Thank you for joining me today in prayer.

I’d like to start by sharing a PRAISE! My budget is now 90% funded! I have only $430/month left to raise! God has been so faithful to bring partners in ministry around me who are so generous and encouraging. I am so so grateful.

Please be praying that this last remainder of support will come in quickly and that I will have a sense of urgency and perseverance until this phase is completed. A September departure date is totally feasible and I’m trusting that the Lord is going to make it happen.

Please be praying for the dynamics of ministry in Rome during the summer. It can be difficult to make things happen because so many people are traveling. Pray for our team leader, Sarah, who is facilitating a Bible conversation English class in June and July. Lauren will also be helping with a week long English outreach the first week of July. Pray that they will have a good turn out for these events and that the Lord would prepare students’ hearts to hear truth.

Please be praying for our future interns and for me as we continue in support raising and preparations for fall departures. Pray that we make good use of our time and that we are intentional about investing time in people and enjoying every minute we can with friends and family before leaving for Rome.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
-Matthew 6:31-34 (ESV)