Monday = Moving Forward

My dear friend, Heather Powell, skyped with me for 3 hours on a Friday night in order to get my World Race fundraising organized! Thank you to her and to you for being patient with me on this! I believe we have accomplished a lot! My new found organization will be implemented soon in different aspects visible and behind the scenes!

Mostly, I am just so ready to get going with this journey and feel the great anticipation of setting financial goals and watching God use all of you to meet them! It really has been a phenomenal blessing thus far as a humbled servant of Christ, asking for monetary funds to be able to “go.” I think it is hard for any person to ask for money. Seriously, no fun! However, this life is not all about fun when you know there are people suffering from travesties worldwide and WE have the power to bring them freedom! Again, thank you for letting me go. I remain indebted to my God for using this broken vessel, made whole only by His hands. Upon saying that, I quickly follow with gratitude for you all and the way you are living life as givers.

1st step in getting organized:

Weekly Blog Posts!

Mondays
= Moving Forward (The revealing of a new country to focus on from the 11 that I will travel through, including stories, pictures, needs, and fun facts)!

Wednesdays
= Mid-week Mission (One specific fundraiser that you can join forces with me in)!

Fridays = Friday 5 (A short list of 5 different ways you can be involved in my journey, with links and easily accessed info)

Because today is MONDAY . . .well, you know what that means:

This week’s country is . . . .(drummer roll, please) . . .

India
With nearly a sixth of the world’s population within its borders, India is a country bursting with people and culture. Home to a diverse array of beliefs from Hinduism to Islam, to a blend of folk religions and other faiths, it is a country of pluralism with twenty-nine languages spoken by over a million native speakers, multiple religions, cuisine, socio-economic classes, and political parties. India’s struggles with poverty and crimes of human trafficking, forced prostitution, religious persecution, and more. You might work with local churches to encourage believers and most likely be challenged by their testimonies. Your presence’ll bring hope and truth to those that society deems “untouchable.”

I read the story of a little boy today, his name is unkown but his face is real . . .he lives in India within the walls of an orpahanage. He is blessed . . .

Blessed indeed. You say, “Blessed? How is this orphan blessed?” This little baby boy lives within the walls of a home. Not a home like you and I enjoy but a dwelling place, a refuge, most often a source of food and safety. One thing I have yet to mention is that this little angel, along with the other children within the orphanage walls, daily faces the challenges of having (what we call) a mental disability. I am unsure of his exact diagnosis but all too aware of the struggles he will face as a little boy in India.

I will very possibly be traveling to this orphanage . And if not, one very similar. I also will have the great priviledge of reaching out to children who only dream of living within the safety of an orphanage but instead find their dwellings in the street. This is India. Colorful. Artistic. Agriculturally and merchandise strong . . .disease infested, hungry, and often hopeless in the midst of economical crisis.

Please . . .send me to India. Not because I can change the country as a whole but because I may make a difference in a life . . .a single life just like yours or mine. It’s worth it, no doubt! A little change goes a long way. Click “Donate” below this post. You can start changing lives now. Blessings!

LOVED.,
Lauren “LO”!<><+

L.O.V.E.

I recently came across a friend’s  Facebook picture album, filled with created memories of 2012 . . .thus far. It made me smile. It seemed as if each day told a story all of it’s own and looked upon from an aerial view, one could assume complete serenity and satisfaction in what was depicted there in.
This may or may not be true but there was one thing I gathered as fact . . .these friends are doing something with each day given and it has been noteworthy, or capture worthy anyway.
Love is, as sung so endearingly, a many splendored thing. Love is not all roses and wine nor will it ever be completely peaceful and all together calming. Love is . . .rugged. Torn, sometimes battered, and capable of weathering storm after storm. Life and love most often go hand in hand and this earth attempts to collide the two over and over. The romance of the notion send hearts to thump and heads reeling. Spinning heels ready to dance and faces lit up in awe of the moment. Our human depiction of love is complete wonder set on fire. Passion. Passion for health, wealth, liberty, connection, unity, laughter, purpose, and endurance. All of this is truth.
We love a good romance. We also love a good tale of mother and daughter. Father and son. Grandpa and grandchild. Even best friends. Some prefer it simply mushy, others prefer it staggering and detailed. Most prefer the rollercoaster tale of win, lose, and win in the end. Very few actually are cynical enough to hope for demise or a mystery type of ending. Those, in my opinion, are the ridiculous of our society! I can’t relate to their wishes in the least. I ask for a pretty bow tied at the top of every story I intake.

There is always a villain.
The villain may be human or even disguised as a disease or untreatable ailment but none the less . . .there is always a villain. We hate the villain. We ask for his defeat! We mark the minutes until we can settle into our hero/heroine’s victory over evil . . .death . . .or the like. Often the effect of the “villain” is separation, hopelessness, fear, anxiety, and even pain in the characters portrayed. Again, all of this is actual.
We possess the finite minds that have  created such fantasy. Such real fantasy. Oxymoronic statement, yes! Accurate depiction of reality, absolutely. All of life, love included, points to a story much bigger than our own. We have been bought with a price. Love has endured, victory has been secured, and death is conquered. There is a villain . . . He is nothing. He lost 🙂
There is also a Hero.
Sacrifice is one of the deepest needs that love has. Sacrifice is a bitter word. Not easily swallowed or spoken. Necessary though! And in GREAT proportions, equal to that of the love. “No greater love hath any man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” states the apostle John in the 15th chapter and 13th verse of His account. The greatest love demands the greatest sacrifice. God did this for you. He sacrificed himself. All He had was given as an offering of sacrifice in the greatest act of love ever displayed. He did this for me. He is perfection so I don’t have to be. What an amazing romance.
The woman He was after ? His bride. The church . . .aka those who put their trust in Him, confessing Him as Lord. Lord? Ruler over all, including our finite minds, pounding hearts, and our reverberating need to be defined by something in this world. Love Himself came down. Died. The love was displayed in His death but the victory was won in His resurrection! He is alive!!! How? Yeah, go ahead . . .try to figure it out. I mean, He’s God. Do you question still? Open His Word, read 1 John, read Galatians, read Ruth . . .read until your heart believes. Will  the story all make sense at once? Nope, probably not. That’s okay, what good story never took a few glances back to figure out the plot. We still go back and watch Inception to see when the character was wearing the ring and when he wasn’t (Movie reference, sorry for those who haven’t seen it and are lost with that statement!). Here’s a great link to a phenomenal blog post on effective Bible reading: (click me)
We try and re-create this “greatest act” over and over again but herein we find truth . . .Jesus was not an “act.” History declares the reality of His sacrifice and the presence of His Spirit within each follower He has, confirms His love in what can only be described as an epic proportion. He is real. He lives in me . He lives in some of you. Some think we who believe are crazy. I dare you to try God’s love! He NEVER disappoints. What fairytale on earth doesn’t leave you feeling a little disdained by its’ ending, as the credits roll or the acknowledgments fade? The real romance lives on. Eternity is its’ home. This romance holds no fear in coercion or even wooing . . .it’s a gift, without need of work or striving on the human part. Only trust. Belief.

Faith.
My friends that I mentioned at the beginning do not live a perfect life. I’m sure of it. No one does. But I will say that it seems that they have found the key to living a joy filled one. They aren’t sitting back watching their lives pass them by while they wait for love to hit them in the face. They are choosing to live each day as a divine depiction of God’s love for them . . .a purposed life, driven to bring Him glory as displayed in their affections for one another and for everything they love: art, music, dance, laughter, stories, people . . . Jesus. They really are living out loud.
You may wonder where the connection lies between my friends described in this post and the obvious parallel between human and divine romance. I promise there is one! Haha! God’s love is practical. Some of you know God’s love but you don’t allow it to reign in your every day life. I’m not saying, go do some really cool things with your days and then let me know when you have a FB album to prove it! HA! No way! I am asking you to evaluate. A good leader, which you’ve been called to be as a Christian by the way, evaluates himself and his circumstances often. Results won’t come without intentional choosing to conform to God’s sovereign plan set before you. Whaaaat? Yeah, sorry about that, it can get confusing. Don’t let it. In other words, don’t sit around and wait for the romance to sweep you off your feet. He died so that you might live . . .live out loud. Today, live for God. Tomorrow, live for God. I BELIEVE with all of my heart that the album of pictures from all of the radical happenings in your life will come to fruition without any extra thought beyond your decision to live. So live love.
If you have questions or statements about my post, feel free to comment below! Also, if you would like to know more about how I have decided to live love, click this link: My WR Blog or scroll to the top and click the World Race tab, right here on my personal blog! Blessings!

“Hold your horse…”

“I hope in God, I pray on, and look yet for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be.”
-George Muller
“The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.”
-Billy Graham
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
-Augustine
Today I post based solely on my inability to think in my present world. That I would embrace today has been my fervent prayer these last few days as I have been fundraising for the World Race. The focus of my heart has been on the nations, the world, and the unreached. The heartbeat that has become mine, beats tribal sounds and only visions of lonely chirping creatures under a starry sky display correctly the place I long to be.
It’s almost like I have gone. I’m not ready yet . . .clearly.
God is definitely saying, “Hold your horses little lady.” Which the fact that God sounds like John Wayne in my head is quite funny as it is! Southern draw or not (that’s a joke!), I know He is being ever so clear with my conscience. Not yet. It’s not QUITE time.
5 months.
In 5 months I will long for Park Place Apartments in Pensacola, FL and for my mother to arrive home in her white nursing uniform, proudly declaring her detestable hospital stories that she finds so very interesting to share! (Yuck!)
In 5 months I will no longer look at the back of Malli’s head (This is how I most often view her since homework at the desk takes up 90% of her time now that she is in private school).
In 5 months the Lord will bring to mind everyone and thing that I have cherished so dear and even found annoyance in while living out my American dream these last 27 years.
Today though, there are only these words, “go & do something.”
With that said, His patience I need. I want to go now! To DO SOMETHING now! Haha! Here’s the irony, I can. I can embrace today . . .as I go. He’s placed me in it for a reason! My jobs, my family, my friends near and far, the strangers at my workout class and the many people that are in need of God’s love everyday (Aware or unaware of its’ power), are reason enough for God to poke me and get me to focus in. Here. Now.
Tomorrow is coming but today is here.
‘One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.”‘
-Acts 18:9
(How have you or haven’t you been embracing today and where God has you? Do you have a story about this very thing? Share below as a comment! You never know how your story my touch someone else in a special way!)