Rachael not so Abroad

To those of you that clicked the link to read, thank you. None of this happens without support and community and I know some of you may have randomly stumbled upon this, but some of you have been faithful encouragers and friends. Thank you.

We now take a break from our regularly scheduled program for an update full of things I never thought I’d be doing. I started this blog while I was consistently travelling to South East Asia doing anti-human trafficking work and immersing myself in the culture and people I grew to love there. That was my life plan. I was going to move there full time and never look back. I was going to be single, nomadic, and live, well, abroad…not in America.  Clearly, God had other plans for my life.

I haven’t been amazing about posting and updating people, I think the beauty of social media is that we can stay connected to those who are far, in distance, from us. If you care to be updated. Keep reading!

Unlike the blog suggests, I, Rachael, am obviously not abroad like the blog suggests. I am living in Lynchburg, VA with my husband. My aching heart for the nations was not ignored and I was blessed with an INCREDIBLE job I love dearly with Freedom 4/24. A non-profit whose mission is to bring freedom and justice to victims and survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. While Freedom 4/24 is based out of Lynchburg, their reach is both domestic, spanning the whole of the United States, and International. It’s never what I thought my career would look like but I’m so thankful it didn’t work out the way I thought I did.

Deylan is pursuing his Master’s in Graphic Design. He is so crazy talented. He is up late every night taking pictures, designing cartoon characters,  making logos, reading, sketching, doing all the creative things. He does this on top of a full time job, training for a marathon, fundraising for Freedom 4/24, cooking dinner most nights, and putting up with my crazy self 24/7.

I too, crazily enough, jumped onto the school train. While my career is my main focus, we’ve been blessed with some educational benefits that would be crazy to not take advantage of. I am working towards my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor focus in Criminal Justice.

Also, in the middle of full time jobs, school, and the transition of being in a new place while being newly married. WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! We are so excited to have somewhere to call our own to open back up to others.

There was a list of things I never said I’d do.

  1. Get married
  2. Go to college
  3. Live in America
  4. Buy a house and “settle down” 
  5. Own a matching “hubby and wifey” mug set


Thanks to everyone that supports out endeavors and checks in on us every once in a while. We are slowly but surely building community here and figuring out how this whole marriage thing works but God, clearly, has bigger and better things in store for us than we ever could have imagined ourselves. Please reach out to us with an update on your lives, we want to know!


Human Trafficking

Human trafficking. Modern Day Slavery.  As time goes by, putting an end to this travesty has become a much bigger and increasingly more popular social issue. Some big names that are HUGE advocates against this injustice are Blake Lively, Ashton Kutcher, Carrie Underwood, Kristen Bell, David Beckham, Emma Thompson, and there are so many more joining and raising awareness! 

Thankfully, many more people are becoming aware, while organizations and individuals are continuing or even just starting their efforts in stopping it. It’s a social justice issue I’ve been involved in fighting since I was 14 years old, and I hope to dedicate the rest of my life and career to stopping it, along with empowering and educating others to join me and do the same. 

There are so many of my posts and blogs you could read about my fundraising efforts, or trips I’ve taken abroad to work with the survivors and the modern day heroes who are on the front lines of this battle everyday.  However, I’m writing this blog to share with you what human trafficking is, what it looks like now, and what YOU can do about it!

What is human trafficking? I’ve inquired of women I’ve worked with in India, as well as organizations here in America to help me answer this question for you with the most accurate and up to date information!

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of fraud, force, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.”1

 “Both globally and locally, traffickers are looking for vulnerable people, earning the trust of their victims, and exploiting them.  Specifically throughout India it happens different ways, kidnapping, false marriage…false love affair. Promise for a job. Property is also a reason it happens” (Zeenat Anwar, previously an employee with Freedom Firm).

“It is the trade of human beings, it happens by threat, cheating or luring- for the purpose of forced labor or sexual slavery against their will. A crime which transports a human being from one place to another to bring huge monitory benefits to some individual or groups. Most of the times victims cannot apprehend that they are being trafficked, they generally agree to a deal and seemingly give their consent, although in some cases they are forced.” (Smarita of Destiny Foundation)

No one is necessarily exempt from being susceptible to this crime. It doesn’t matter your gender, class, race, neighborhood or family life. I was recently at a fundraising event for a Freedom 4/24, a non-profit whose mission is to see this injustice ended where human trafficking survivor and advocate, Tanya Street, said, “teenagers just want to be and feel loved and cared for. And love is a vulnerability that traffickers WILL exploit.”

I asked Zeenat again, “How can people get involved? What is the best way for people to join us in our fight against human trafficking?” Her answer was simple but profound, and just as easily said as it is done. So why don’t we come together and do it?!

She answered, “People can be involved by praying. Come meet them in person and show them God loves them. Give survivors new opportunities to be independent and feel valuable.”

PRAY! It’s so easy! It actually doesn’t require you to even get out of your bed. No excuses.

Pray for the victims, that they would be rescued and find freedom.

Pray for the survivors, that they would have the help and resources available to come out and assimilate back into their life after the trauma they’ve faced.

Pray for healing, that they’d become advocates and voices for others who have gone through the same thing, that their trafficker would be charged, and that justice would prevail.

Pray for the organizations that are actively fighting and fundraising to change laws and policies, to rescue women, men and children, to create safe homes and places for these survivors to heal, learn, create and grow.

Smarita of The Destiny foundation says “The first step for people to get involved would be to reach out to organizations the work in anti-human trafficking or read and learn about human trafficking. They should keep an eye out in public places or work places for minors with blank and quiet places or who sound vague and confused when you talk to them, don’t hesitate to talk to them and verify the situation by getting more information and inform the police (you can stay anonymous).”

God is a God who loves justice. This was not part of his original plan and He will one day restore all things to himself. For now, our job is to fight on their behalf, stand in their gap, and be the voice for the voiceless. We are their advocates.  “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”2

Come meet them! Come meet with survivors and just love them! If it’s not possible for you to travel internationally, or to work consistently with at-risk youth or survivors, give and support those who are! Short term missions done right are so effective and impactful! Support them! Support on a regular basis an organization that is committed to this work!

Human trafficking is “estimated to be a $150 billion industry, and the fastest growing criminal enterprise worldwide”!It will take your financial support to fight back! But there are already some amazing people and groups out there doing amazing work, and they can’t do it without the generosity of people like you! Amazon smile actually has IJM (International Justice Mission) as an option. Every purchase you make is money going towards the fight for freedom and justice. It can be that easy!

Last but not least, EDUCATE YOURSELF and others! George Washington Carver said “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” Be equipped and prepared to inform others about what human trafficking is. Get familiar with the statistics and with the stories of survivors. Educate yourself on the tools available to make your kids online time a safer experience. Learn about the policies of schools in your area for trafficking situations. Learn the laws in your state concerning it. There are tools and resources available, and clicking on the links I’ve sourced below are an amazing place to start!

Smarita also included ” People should be careful what they buy because some of the victims work in exploitative factories and the problem remains invisible. People should inquire and ask questions about the manufacturing details, including big brands. Don’t buy the products until you have clarity on the manufacturing details. Just like you are careful about what you eat and drink-or use on your skin-check that the products you buy do not harm others.” You can take this quiz to see how many products and companies you support that may be exploiting men, women, and children for their own personal profit : http://slaveryfootprint.org/.

This is a real problem, and as of right now, it’s not going away. You can be a part of changing that!

You can read through some of my other blogs to see ways I’ve been able to be a part of the fight against human trafficking and I am actually returning to India in January and would love for you to be a part of my trip! I’ll list below some other amazing organizations you might be able to partner with on a more regular and consistent basis!





1 (888) 373-7888 National Human Trafficking Hotline



*1 https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking

*2 Proverbs 21:3

*3 https://www.ilo.org/global/lang–en/index.htm



“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” -Isaiah 43:19

NEW. This is what we prayed for. Something different, a change. NEW. This is what we begged and pleaded with God for. Healing. There we both were, stranded in the wilderness, roaming in the desert. God brought glimpses of hope to us there, mainly through Real Hope Community Church. He brought friends, some of the most incredible friends we’d ever had, an opportunity to be a deep part of things we were passionate about, an opportunity to be poured into and mentored. It was amazing. It grew and saved us, but it was only preparation. It was preparation for the transition into the NEW God had promised us.  So, he made the way and led us out of our wilderness to the NEW.


NEW was exciting. I anticipated it for over a year. I was ready. The ‘old’ hurt and was painful. The ‘old’ brought out the worst parts of my heart and crippled me. I was ready for NEW. We both were.

NEW hurts though. NEW is hard. Healing hurts. Healing is hard. To restore what has been broken, to find what has been lost, to remember, to recreate, to rebuild. It’s hard and painful. It is lonely. It makes you take a few steps back and try to recall who you truly are, who HE truly is, and what he’s called you to do. What do you believe? About yourself? About your relationships? About God? Do you really trust God as much as you say you do? Sometimes you can get so comfortable in your ‘old’ and your hurt and your wilderness that home is the scariest place you could find yourself. You begin to believe the lies. Lost is what you know so it’s where you desire to stay when you’re found. But NEW saves your life. Draws you closer to the Lord. Rejuvenates and strengthens relationships. Empowers You. Dignifies. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary to start over, to rebuild.

If you’ve ever watched a Home Improvement show on TV you know that as soon as you begin the rebuilding process, as soon as they begin one project, more problems pop up and you end up having to re-do basically everything! You start by redoing the kitchen, now you have a pipe problem, you redo the bathrooms, now there’s something wrong with the foundation, you’ll have to knock out a wall etc. But at the end of that half hour the end result is breathtaking and beautiful! Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem to rebuild a wall, and then ends up addressing the problems of how they treat their poor, hosting dinners, taking measures to repopulate the city and purify the Jewish community, and assisting Ezra in making known and enforcing the law of Moses. When you go to rebuild one thing somehow everything else comes to the surface.

But the promise of NEW is an old promise. Through Christ we are promised the second we come to faith our ‘old’ is gone and our NEW will come. But because we are human and messy and selfish we have to wake up everyday and put on our NEW. Strive to be more like Christ through our sanctification, through the Gospel.

Some NEW is easier than others, some NEW is harder and forces you to see the messiest parts of yourself as you begin to rebuild and restore and heal. NEW like a marriage and a move across the country! But our God is the same and faithful in the seasons of our ‘old’ and hurt and consistent and faithful in our NEW. NEW can be isolating and intimidating but NEW is beautiful and powerful and shapes you to look more like Christ and pursue what he’s asking of you.

” You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” -Ephesians 4:22-24



Capacity to Love

In the movie Eat Pray Love a woman going through her very own mid-life crisis, drops every comfort and familiar thing in life and goes on a year long journey to find herself and her inner balance. She goes to three countries, searching for one specific trait of each country. She seeks pleasure in Italy, spiritual enlightenment in India, and a balance of the two in Indonesia. While struggling with meditation and her own thoughts at the ashram of a guru in India her friend tells her these words, “You have the capacity to someday love the whole world. It’s your destiny.”

As I was reading this book, on the plane to India, I was contemplating this statement. While I’m not on the same spiritual journey as Elizabeth Gilbert was when writing this book, my time in India has been a journey and has definitely filled with spiritual battles and revelations. I have accomplished much here and I have loved with a greater capacity then I ever knew myself capable of but do I, or do we as fallen human beings, truly have the capacity to someday love the whole word? As someone currently serving on the mission field I would love for the answer to be yes and some days it feels like it could be. The more layovers I have and time spent in different countries the more I feel I definitely possess that and it’s not possible for me to fit love in for one more country but somehow I do. But there are the hard days, the days you can get so easily annoyed with a pushy taxi driver and so angry with the men staring you up and down every time you leave the comfort of your home. There are days you’re so frustrated because you don’t understand the language or the cultural taboos and then I question, can I even love one small part of the world well?

I’ve come up with an answer though. No. In no way do I have the capacity to someday love the whole world. There are some mornings I can barely remember to brush my teeth. There are times here when I can hardly show one person the love they need. A lot of days I have come home feeling discouraged wishing I could have done more, wishing I could have loved more.

I’m so glad though my work doesn’t end with a list of things I wish I could have done better and a list of things left unaccomplished on my own strength. My work starts with serving the only one that does love the whole world. Like the chorus of the old children’s song, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Or, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” No matter how you spin it. God’s got it covered and he’s got it handled with a love so abundant and with a love outside of my realm of understanding.

I’ve become so thankful that the pressure isn’t on me to love the whole world. I could never accomplish that. Through him though I have the capacity to love a bigger and greater part of it with a love that’s fuller and more powerful than anything I could have given in my own strength. He’s given me the strength to wake up each morning and pour myself out on these women in the office, every weekend make my heart available for the children in the brothels.

Thank you Lord for loving the whole world completely and unconditionally and for not putting that expectation on me but thank you for giving me an opportunity to love part of it with a love I could never have understood on my own. Thank you for revealing yourself to me through that and give me the heart to display this same love to every country I visit and every soul I encounter.

Time flies

Last year six months seemed liked the longest amount of time in the world. I’m committing to be away from family, friends, and familiarity for six months! One month has passed and how wrong I was. I wish I could grab January back and hug it and cling to it a little longer. Time here has gone by so quickly and in 30 days I’ve already learned more about myself, more about the ministry I’m most passionate about, and more about a part of the heart of our Creator I’ve never been able to experience before. I feel I’ve done my best cherishing every moment and memory, living and participating in everything that’s asked of me, trying every food, taking in every smell (even the awful ones), and making the most of each moment but I still can’t believe that one month of my time here has passed. Although, seeing how much I’ve grown, accomplished, witnessed, and been apart of in just one month makes me all the more excited to see what God will do in the next 5 months. To think my time has just begun and God has so much more in store for these ladies, for Kate and I, and for the teams coming to serve with this ministry makes my heart soar.

I’ll give you a glimpse into what my day to day looks like here every week. Monday-Friday, 9:30-5:30, we’re in the office with the ladies. Worship and morning devotionals, this month we’ve been talking about purpose, English lessons, Bengali lessons, and of course their jewelry making are all apart of their time in the office. The amount of time they use though to pour into these ladies spiritually is truly what sets this ministry apart from so many. When there was a concern in the community, we just finished work early and went and prayed as we walked around the community. Their schedule is up to God and in every moment the staff and the ladies are waiting to hear from him. The ladies are so special. They have a joy about them that’s contagious. I would love to share stories with you to show you where God’s brought them but they’re not my stories to tell. While some of the stories are devastating and hard to hear and take in you wouldn’t know they come from that from the way they worship the Lord in the morning. The thoughts of those things in their background wouldn’t cross your mind when you saw the way they cry out to God on behalf of their families and friends in the community. You wouldn’t be able to tell from the way they proclaim the Lord’s goodness more than any middle class american with an effortless life. That past doesn’t define them so it’s not up to me to share, these ladies are not victims they are warrior princesses. They’re not a pity story they’re an encouragement to my faith and the way they love and serve inspires the way I want to live and serve. What happened in their past isn’t apart of the picture anymore because they are learning to live in their new life in Christ and take advantage of the freedom he gives them.

Saturday is house church out in the red light community. One of the JIAC ladies uses her home as a meeting place for this care group and it’s such a blessing and it’s truly growing despite opposition from the enemy. I’ve been working with the kids program and it’s been so good. There have been some hard weeks where a handful of the kids are a little wild, but it’s just their reality, they don’t know better but they’re learning! These kids are so hungry for some Jesus and it’s such a blessing to sit with them. We’ve been singing the song Break Every Chain during morning devotionals where the lyrics say, “There’s an army rising up to break every chain.” These children are that army rising up. If this generation grows up in the gospel and walking in the way of the Lord just think of the generational chains they’ll break in their community. I truly believe that pouring into these kids now, even when it’s hard, is something I want to be apart of because I believe they can truly change their communities for the Lord. One of the girls who works with us has been in charge of that and she walks with such authority and the kids have so much respect for her so I can’t wait to see how the Lord uses her and these kids.

While that was more of an overview and not super specific you get a good glimpse of what all’s been going on here in India and I can’t thank those of you who have been supporting me financially and in prayer enough! I wish I could get every second of January back and hold it a little longer but I’m so excited to take February day by day and taste and see what else the Lord has in store. How I need him here in ways I truly don’t back home. It’s so beautiful to be completely run down and exhausted, to pour myself out so it’s truly him flowing through me and loving on these people in a way I couldn’t in my own strength. I’m seeing so much of his heart for justice, for the world, and for these people. I’ve been so blessed by my hosts and the way they love each other and the way they’ve served and taken care of me. Also I bought all my produce for a week for less than $5 USD so that’s a big reason as to why I wish I could just stay forever.


We’ve hit the week mark! One week until I embark on this adventure finally! I’ll be boarding a plane and actually going to this place to hug the necks of these people you’ve been hearing so much about and I’ve been preparing for so long for! It sounds a bit cliche to say this but in a few ways it holds true, so much of my life has been setting me up and preparing me for this mid term mission! When I was in 8th grade and God so strongly impressed the people of India on my heart, when I had just turned 15 and I looked a girl in the eyes of the same age that experienced tragedy I couldn’t even fathom and promised I’d return, when next year I returned and got to hug her neck, God knew. When I was asked to lead student worship on a week to week basis…and was absolutely terrified, he knew what a big part music would play in this internship where part of my job description is a daily worship time and devotional and teaching the women to express themselves creatively.

For me this was an easy yes! God said go and looking back at everything leading up to this it was easy to say “SEND ME!” I’m so thankful for everyone else that said yes to their calling by supporting me and this cause financially, hosting prayer nights or simply just praying when this crossed your mind, or said an encouraging word in passing or posted on facebook. If  you hadn’t said yes to things that seemed silly or random I wouldn’t be getting on a plane in a week! I’m so glad we serve a God of details who gave us each different gifts, resources, and hearts, that when we work for the glory of his kingdom we help each other out. We need each other!

At a winter retreat when I was in 7th grade my small group leader was a college student who had just graduated and gotten back from her senior mission trip to Kolkota! She served at mother theresa’s and worked at some aftercare homes during her trip! She spoke with such passion and love for these people and this cause that I listened to her for hours! I was so inspired by the heart she had for this! I can’t imagine what my life would look like if she had said no to that calling. I can’t imagine what my life would look like if I had said no!

Why do we say no so often? Time? Money? Energy? Resources? Fear? Doubt? Age? I’ve definitely used all these excuses and more once or twice and it sounds kinda silly telling God he can’t use me because I’m a little busy this week or I’d rather go to chickfila again then click on that GoFund me link for a friend’s mission trip. We serve a God of miracles and provision first of all that always provides a way. If he has clearly called you to something you will be financially provided for, your visa will be approved, or whatever it is. He doesn’t change his mind when he’s made clear how to share the gospel and grow the kingdom. Now that isn’t to say it’s always the easiest or most comfortable way to live but it is possible and you will thrive in him.

I’m not saying I’m some kind of hero or super Christian because I’ll be living overseas for a little bit. In fact most days I feel exact opposite and there are plenty of no’s I regret. I’m not needed to accomplish the work that needs done over there, but I am honored to have been chosen to be even a small part of it. We’re all chosen to be apart of spreading the power of the gospel. I’ve learned though that if I say no God will still accomplish what he set out to do. I’m not hindering the Lord’s plans in any way, but I so desperately want to be apart of them, that’s something I do not want to have chosen to miss out on.

I can’t wait to share stories with you all and ask for your continuous prayer and support! I ask that you pray to that God would be clear on what your next step is and then I’ll be praying that you say yes! Your yes not only affects your personal walk and growth but the walks of your brother’s and sisters! I can’t wait to go share the gospel in another language to a people I’ve slowly fallen in love with and I’m so glad there’s so many apart of this who have fallen in love with this place and this cause too! Love you all and I can’t wait to write again from India!!!! ONE WEEK!

Jehova Jira

Jehova Jira-The Lord will provide. Yaweh will provide. Not Rachael working hard enough or hoping enough something happens or doing everything in her power to make things appear. The Lord will provide.

So with everything going on and all the financial preparation that goes with preparing to leave the country for 6 months I’ve been a little short on funds. I hate fundraising. I hate asking people for money….again. I think I mostly hate admitting I need help, I hate admitting I can’t work for all of it or get it all on my own will. I’m a bit self-reliant and independent. I also have a bad habit of doubting God, that he’s capable of coming through. There’s not a doubt in my mind that this internship is what I’m supposed to be doing but there’s a doubt in my mind that God will get me there? How does that make sense? It doesn’t. I’m an idiot and God has a great sense of humor.

I had to turn in my deposit fee for the trip! I had the money ready for that, cool, good to go. I needed to get my passport renewed ASAP, scheduled an appointment as soon as I could, great. It was $150, I didn’t have that. I didn’t get paid for another week and just turned in my trip money. Here comes God’s great humor. I posted on Facebook just for prayer and discernment, for focus on God and not money, I posted asking for help. Within the next 24 hours the money was there no questions asked and my soul was relieved. There are some pretty great people who have my back and I can’t thank them enough for their  obedience. WOW.

God’s pulled through every time and I still get nervous about him providing what I need to go where I know he’s called me.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phlp 4:19)

“For every animal of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Ps 50:10)

I try to do everything on my own and deny others the opportunity to use their gifts and serve the way God calls them. Why do I insist on hindering my brothers and sisters constantly? It’s like telling them their gifts aren’t as cool or as special or useful as mine. Which is in no way true or what I think, but it’s how I act. We all have the same God and the same purpose.

“There are different gifts but the same spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person.” (1 Cor 12:4-6)

I asked God to send me

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Who should I send? Who will go for Us? I said: Here I am. SEND ME.” (Isaiah 6:8)

And he did!

“Jesus said to the again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”” (John 20:21)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 38:19-20)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

I’ve seen him work miracles in the money that he sends. I’ve seen him rescue girls from slavery. I’ve seen him father the orphan and show love to the untouchables. I’ve seen him talk to the “not so cool” kid and give words to those who had nothing to say. There’s story after story in the Bible of how he pulls through. Even in my own life I’ve seen it and I’m still so tempted to look away and fight for things my own way.

I just want to say thank you to those of you are first of all, lifted my financial burden this week. I can’t thank you enough! And secondly, I want to say sorry for my lack of faith. Life is hard and I’m human. I can’t. God can. I might just start letting him.

They will be radiant because of the Lord’s goodness

So, three blogs over the course of two weeks is actually really good for me. I’m quite proud of myself in that aspect. I’m writing this one in Kolkota, and some on the plane where the whole team got upgraded..for free…to business class. Joy Jeshu!! What a crazy blessing and what a fun time we’ve all had together up in business class to end the trip. The perfect finale to a race well run. This team has been such a blessing to me firstly. We had so much fun in our room all week, Mama Christine, Mama Karen and I. Everyone has gotten along so well and had something so different and unique to offer. They made me feel like an equal and a cherished princess and I’m so thankful for the way they served each other and I’ve loved getting to know every person on this awesome team.

 This trip has been so unique and so set apart from any other trip to India I’ve been apart of. As we spent the last day with the Jewels in a crown ladies we just spent the morning worshiping with them and then they did a dance for the team. I was just so overwhelmed by love for these ladies. The fire they have for Christ, the heart they have for their families and communities, the courage they have to go and love Jesus was inspiring and such a blessing. We took them to lunch our last day there and using almost no English, I had such fun with them. We just got to laugh and have fun and giggle, and they are so silly and so much fun. My heart was overflowing with joy seeing thejoy they have even though their lives and situation give them every reason and opportunity to deny themselves that joy and happiness. Of all the places in the world, I’m so thankful I’ll be interning with this organization and getting to love on and encourage these ladies.

   The Lord wrote a song through these ladies this week. His name was proclaimed in the midst of Kalighat, where people were lined up to give offerings and sacrifices to their goddess. We were worshipping in a building only a few feet from the river where they used to sacrifice babies and throw them in. He brought laughter to the hopeless. A young lady who still hasn’t accepted Christ stepped up and led worship and wrote a line in Hindi for the song we wrote. He showed up through drums, through paint, through beautiful dances, through Bible journaling, through singing, through repurposed trash! He showed up in giggles and laughter. He made himself know in smiles of the broken and in prayers of the unworthy. 

How unworthy we are to bow at his throne and yet how much he loves us. How little we have to offer and yet he uses our insufficiencies and shines through the gifts he’s given us. Thank you Lord for music, no matter what language, what kind, where you are it touches people and speaks to people in a way nothing else in the world does. It was so cool to see a new friend of ours, Jordan Raycroft (look him up he’s amazing), put on a concert a church in Kolkota and see how many people showed up and heard the gospel. So neat to see a new sweet sister who’s going to Bethel this fall, sing lyrics for the song we wrote on behalf of these ladies knowing she grew up with them. These past two weeks reminded me of why I fell in love with music and really rekindled a dying flame of a spirit of worship.

“…you will take up your tambourines again and go out in joyful dancing! For this is what the Lord says:

Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the chief of the nations! Proclaim, praise, and say,’Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’

They will come and sing songs of joy on the heights of Zion. They will be radiant because of the Lord’s goodness. The young women will dance for joy, and the men, old and young- will join in the celebration! I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing!” (Jeremiah 31)

Sing your song, dance your dance, tell your tale

Wow. Where to begin? We’ve been working at Jewels in a crown these last few days doing a worship art workshop. Everything from singing, to dancing, to painting, to boomwhackers and percussion games, to bible art journaling, to making cross art out of trash has gone on this week. It’s been amazing to see these ladies, freed from slavery, living in the freedom of Christ learning all sorts of ways. I’ve never worshipped like this before, I’ve never felt so connected to my brothers and sisters in Christ while leading worship then I have this week. The Lord is working in the hearts of these ladies as we get to be a small part of watching them prepare to testify and share the love and freedom Christ brings for themselves with those around them. This has been by far the best trip I’ve ever been on. We’ve written a song with the ladies and it’s all their words, their thoughts and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. While we were having songwriting session yesterday I just wept as I listened to them talk. I express myself through song, I’ve grown up performing, I’ve been writing  since junior high, it’s how I share with God and others what’s on my heart, and the way these ladies were doing just that so spoke to my heart. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. These words came straight from them. This is their story, what they want the world to know about JIAC, Jesus, and themselves and I’m so honored to be even a small part of this.

I can’t even describe everything that’s happened and how all the Lord has showed up but its been the best trip so far I’ve ever been on. The ladies are so joyful and so funny. One girl, when I was telling her I’ll be back for her in January, told me, I’ll go back to America, get married, have four kids and them come back, it’s been a running joke with the ladies now. They’ll just come up to me and show me the number four on their hands giggle and walk off. It’s so fun to have these memories with these ladies and get to come back and spend an extended amount of time. I’m so excited to have gotten to know them and be able to pray for them, and then come back and see how those prayers have been answered. Wow, what a cool oppurtunity. As I was learning to make chai with one of the staff members today she was saying no other intern has had that oppurtunity. So cool how God is preparing me.

Last night we had the most incredible worship night with the team, the family who lives here as full time missionaries, and their really cool interns. Tonight we ordered in Chinese and had a movie night. This trip is just so fun. It’s been hard work but God has made it so enjoyable. 

Tomorrow we go to an Indian recording studio (Yay!) and record the new song!! So stinkin excited!!! Thanks so much for your prayers!!!!

Fifth time’s a charm

As I write this I’m sitting on an all too crowded plane with not so very pleasant foodand some random child sleeping on my shoulder the whole time and I’m not sure what time or day it is but I do know by the time I can actually post this I’ll be in one of my very favorite places in the whole wide world, Kolkota, India!!! After these two travel days I’ve been so blessed by this awesome team and I can’t wait to serve along side them! There are some amazing people on this team that are all crazy creative, gifted, and talented in such unique ways! 

   This is my fifth time back to India and I’m pumped! We’re working mainly with the organization I’ll be interning with in January!!! This trip is so timely and helpful in that I’ll be getting to meet everyone, have face to face conversations with people, and get a good idea about what the first five months of 2016 are going to look like!!

    Even after the few meetings and planning I already know this will be such a trip of joy! The suitcases jingle when you roll them from all the fun instruments we’ve crammed in there. Everyone on this team is so excited and encouraging, the women and children we’re working with are anticipating our arrival and this is just a fun trip! Sure, it will be a lot of hard work, it will be hot, I’m more emotionally raw then I’ve ever been having left the day of my Papaw’s funeral, but this trip will be full of joy. Firstly, for me, because my papaw loved  traveling and mission trips more than anyone I know and I’m so excited to honor and remember him in the way he would have been proudest of. Secondly, our tasks there in include a worship arts camp! 10 days of music, songs, dance, art, crafts, and bible stories from the Bible of strong, influential women who lived set apart for Christ. This is my kind of deal!!!

Here’s where to come to check up on the team and hear about the trip but if I get lazy and slack on the posting look out for our incredibly gorgeous and talented team leader, Kay’s, blog and updates on the Go Beyond Kolkota page!!!