As I shared here, I am joining Crystal from Money Saving Mom for this 12 Months to a Healthier You Challenge. At the beginning of the month, she’ll introduce the focus area and encourage you to set a small goal for that specific area and she’ll share her goals. Then, every Friday, she’ll have a check-in post where she’ll encourage you to share your progress & struggles and she’ll share hers, as well. If you want to blog about your progress, she’ll include a link-up at the end of the post so you can share your blog posts on this challenge.
The challenge for January was to exercise regularly by getting active 5 days a week. The February challenge was to eat more fruits and veggies. The March challenge was to drink more water by drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day. The April challenge was to cut back on sugar. The May challenge was to get more rest. The June challenge was to create a morning routine. The July challenge is to read more.
So how I am doing with all of these? Truthfully, not great. I was doing great even through this summer in NYC, but since finding out I am pregnant, being so tired, and coming back to a little more lax everyday schedule, it has been hard to get in the groove. I am hoping that changes in the next few weeks. I still really want to do this challenge and cultivate a habit of being healthier, having good habits, and having more self-discipline so I am determined not to qive up yet. I have read more this month so I am encouraged by that and I have gotten more rest (but because of being pregnant and having to, not because I am being self-disciplined!). Anyhow, thanks for encouraging me to stick with it and feel free to ask me how its going.
And if you are doing this challenge too, I would love to hear how you are doing with it all!
So this week has been filled with lots of laundry, unpacking, catching up with friends, sleeping in, and lots of administrative work for our ENC ministry. And lots of appointments (which I will get to later). It has began to set in the last few days that being back in NC is our new normal.
Whenever people travel anywhere for a prolonged amount of time, there is always a cycle they go through. Now, I am no expert, but from what I have observed and learned, the cycle goes like this – arrive in new location, have a sort of high time for a few weeks where everything is new and great (honeymoon period if you will), then reality sets in and you want to go back to what you know, and then eventually, you settle in to the location you are at and begin to love it and that becomes normal. We experienced this when we went to Russia, when we came back from Russia to the states, and once again when we got to NYC. Now, we are experiencing it as we adjust to live back in NC.
For instance, sitting in church this morning, it was really weird not to see the same drummer and multi-cultural group of people leading worship as we did in the city, or to not look out the window and see the huge skyscrapers around us. It was weird to hear the pastor talk about loving the people who drive slow in the fast lane, which I found hard to relate to when he wasn’t talking about bad subway etiquette. It was weird listening to the song “God of this city” this morning during worship and thinking about NYC. It is weird to think that from here on out, we will drive everywhere and not take the subway. I And not to mention the quietness of sitting outside our house – I keep wanting to say, where is everyone? We love being back, don’t get us wrong, but things are just different and not normal to us anymore. And one day they will be, we get that.
So, the other thing we have been doing since our brief trip back to NC, is lots of appointments. Why, you ask?
We are thankful to the Lord for our new addition coming January 14, 2014!! Kinsley keeps talking about getting to see the baby on the big screen (she went with us to see the ultrasound) and how the baby will be here after Christmas. Emerson has no clue what is going on, being that she is so young.
And can I say, the Lord has a sense of humor? Ed and I both had “planned” that I wouldn’t be pregnant in the city so I wouldn’t have to deal with the kids, being sick, and being tired. Well, our plans were not the Lords. We were pregnant the whole time we were there. Whoops!
Please join us in praying for continued health for this baby, for me, and for energy to do the things that need to be done for our family!
Thats a wrap! We have finished our summer project in NYC and returned home (more on the return trip in a bit). How are we feeling? Grateful to be home. Excited to see our friends at home. Sad that we left the city and our project family. Already missing so many things about city life. Thankful to the Lord for how he moved this summer.
The last week of summer project was very similar to the weeks before it. Lots of good conversations on campus, spending time doing inner city ministry, an ethnic dinner at a Haitian restaurant, church, Bible study, training time, time in the Word, and so much more. One of the fun perks of it being the last week were being able to attend the staff and student banquets. The staff banquet was held at the Lincoln Center. The food was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Three course meal involving all kinds of foods that I couldn’t read on the menu much less repeat here. But man, was it good! Here is Ed and I dressed all fancy at the staff dinner.
Then, the student banquet was held at a southern cooking restaurant. It was such good food and I thoroughly enjoyed having a REAL glass of sweet tea again. Here is a picture of our Bible study at the banquet.
At this banquet, we were able to celebrate through stories and videos how the Lord has changed lives this summer – both of our students and of people in the city. I will try to find one of those videos and post soon.
This summer, God put a burden on our heart for reaching NYC like none other. NYC is the largest city in our country by far – over 8 million people compared the the next largest city of Chicago with about 2.7 million. Brooklyn, one of NYC’s buroughs, has about 2.5 million people, close to the size of the city of the Chicago – and that is just one of the boroughs in NYC. Beyond its size, NYC attracts people from all over the world – some choose to live here, some choose to work here, and some choose to study here and then go back to their countries. NYC influences the culture of our country unlike any other city and one thing is clear – NYC can be used to reach the entire world.
As I talked with people in NYC this summer, it was increasingly clear that many had never heard the name of Jesus before or hadn’t given much thought to who he was. This summer, through all of our students and staff, we were able to have:
325 initiated conversations, 216 spiritual conversations, 131 gospel presentations, 1 Spirit-filled life presentation, and 1 person trusted Christ!!
Overall, the Lord moved greatly this summer and we are so humbled and amazed to have been a part of that. Our students lives were completely changed and we are really excited to hear quite a few of them talking about taking a year or two, or the rest of their lives, to come back to NYC to share with people full-time about Christ! Check out this blog from a student of ours, Summer, who went with us – its pretty amazing and says in way better words than I can what the Lord taught our students this summer.
This project just reiterates the heart of what we do with Cru – reach students with the message of Christ, see them built in their faith, and then see them sent out to make a difference around the world for Christ in their occupation and ministry. Yes, we could tell college students about Christ for the first time. Yes, we could teach students how to walk with the Lord and to surrender their lives to him. Yes, we could go to NYC or to another country full-time as missionaries. OR we could trust the Lord to use us to raise up 10, 20, or 30 students who will go do those very things, thereby multiplying the impact.
This is a picture of a few of our girls praying for the city and here is a picture of me with Chelsea, the girl I discipled this summer.
After we left NYC, we traveled to Maine for the day to see a few lighthouses and to eat some good lobster (and boy did we – check out this giant lobster below that we got with all the food pictured for only about $25). Kinsley’s favorite part? Seeing the tower that looks like Rapunzel’s and saying “Rapunzel, let down your hair!” Here are a few pictures from our trek:
After Maine, we traveled down to Boston for a day of sightseeing. We loved Boston – the history, the architecture, the views, the fun things to do – but we didn’t love the heat! Ed got to see Fenway Park and check that off his list, we got to tour around the city and see many historic places, and the girls got to visit the aquarium.
The last day, we were planning on stopping at a hotel on the way home just for the night but when Kinsley kept asking how long until we got home and we were tired of stopping again to set up camp just for a night, we decided to book it home. We drove over 12 hours to make it home (quite a few of those were after they went to bed at night). The girls were troopers and did great – especially with lots of stops to break things up. We did have a little bit of sadness when we passed through NYC again on the way back, realizing just how much we were going to miss the city. But, when we arrived home at 1:30am, we were glad to be home!
Thanks for your prayers, support, encouragement, and loving the city with us this summer. Please continue praying that students, even some who were with us this summer, will go and make a difference there for Christ!