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)

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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)

The Harvest is Plentiful

Last week I was at the ReachGlobal national office in Minneapolis to interview to transition from short-term to long-term service on the Rome City Team. There were 13 of us interviewing in total: 5 “Change of Status” [transitioning], and 8 Candidates [new to the organization]. Those of us transitioning had a time of debriefing, before the others arrived, in which we had the opportunity to talk with organization staff, get counsel from Pastoral Care about transitioning, and have discussion with one another about how our short-term experience had been.

The other days were spent discussing ReachGlobal distinctives and particulars, sharing our stories of how God has called us to full-time ministry, spending time with a counselor, and interviewing with several organization staff about various areas of health. ReachGlobal has a strong commitment to health [spiritual, relational, mental, physical, etc.], so all the staff want to insure that each candidate is a good fit for ReachGlobal and that ReachGlobal is a good fit for each candidate.

It was great to spend time at the national office getting to know the staff better, catching up with friends, and meeting other amazing people who have a passion to see hearts come to know Jesus all over the world.

Yesterday, I received my invitation to become a long-term ReachGlobal staff member! Going forward, I will continue with more training to better equip me for this new position, starting with another event at the national office in August. I will also continue to build on my ministry partnership team. If you are interested in joining my team and supporting financially, either monthly or with a special gift, please visit the EFCA website, click “Give Now,” and put “Account #1488 – Creamer” in the Designation field.  Or you can contact me for information about other methods of giving.

I am so excited about this next leg of the journey. It’s so encouraging to see so many of our personnel transitioning to long-term staff, and I’m thrilled to be one of them.

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

– Matthew 9:35-38

Summer in the City

Well, it is summer in Roma yet again, and as it goes, the warm weather brings visiting teams, special event opportunities, and a few extra trips to the gelateria. So grab some sunscreen and let’s take a look at what the heat has in store for the Rome City Team for the next couple months:

-OEC-
This week we have our Summer Outreach English Course. It’s a week long intensive course that we are putting on Monday through Friday [July 7-11]. We have a team from the States that arrived yesterday [July 5th] that has come to help us teach these classes. We are praying that the Lord will bring open hearts and open minds. The classes will be taking place in the Salvation Army facility that is in my neighborhood and would be an excellent opportunity to begin to develop relationships with people in the community. We still don’t know how many will be in attendance, but we will be thrilled even with a handful of new acquaintances.

-YWAM Team & Vision Trip-
We will be working with a visiting Youth With A Mission team from Leeds, England the last two weeks of July. We are prayfully considering what kind of activities to include in the schedule for their time with us. During the time they are here with us, we will also have a family visiting us for a vision trip. This means that they have been seriously considering joining the Rome City Team and now want to visit our team to get a feel for how ministry and life function in Rome. We hope that this time will be fruitful and insightful and that the Lord will give clarity to help their decision.

-Freedom Days Planning-
With temperatures climbing higher and higher, October seems like an eternity away, however we are already beginning to plan a schedule and events in advance. October 18th is the European Anti-Trafficking Day, and leading up to the 18th, our team will be participating in an “18 Days of Freedom” awareness-raising campaign. We are hoping that this campaign will shed light on the issue of human trafficking and will stir people’s hearts to join the fight to end modern day slavery.

-Personally-
In June, I was thrilled to have one my dearest friends come to visit for a couple of weeks. Now, my parents are planning a trip for September. Living overseas has its upsides and I’m thrilled to be working here as the Lord has called me to for this time, but being away from family and friends can be difficult at times. It makes it all the sweeter when loved ones are able to make the trip and come for a visit. I am tremendously grateful for these blessings.

Come and make my heart Your home
Come and be everything I am and all I know
Search me through and through
‘Til my heart becomes a home for You

-My Heart, Your Home//Watermark

Visa Success!

God is so good! Thank you to everyone who prayed for my visa appointment on Monday. I arrived early and they let me right into my appointment anyway. I was questioned a little bit about my commissioning certificate, but nothing like last time. There were no problems at all. I was allowed to apply and we were back on the road before my appointment was even supposed to start. And guess what. This morning, not even 48 hours later, my visa arrived in the mail! The Lord truly prepared the way and made this process easier than I ever thought it would be!

Hooray! 27 days to departure!