Tuesday, January 12, 2010


No, not THAT move (yet)...

It's a pre-big-overseas-move move! While I may not be physically moving yet, my blog has relocated to Wordpress.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause... but really the new blog is just a click away: http://melissajaneCR.wordpress.com.

"Change always comes bearing gifts."

[Price Pritchett]

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fast Cars & Freedom

This week I had a little mini wake-up call -- I take my freedom/independence for granted sometimes (ok, often!!).

Wednesday evening, as I left youth group at CAC, I unlocked my car, climbed in, turned the ignition...... and nothing happened. The battery had died, and since I had been fortunate enough to never have to deal with a dead battery in the past, I felt a bit helpless. And jumper cable-less. Thankfully, it was Jim Martin & Christian Barry to the rescue. They gave my car the jumpstart it needed, and I headed home, parking on the street instead of the driveway, just in case it needed another jump in the morning.

As anticipated, it was dead Thursday morning, too. Not to worry, the McNamaras had kindly left their jumper cables handy, and Patrick & I attached the cables -- red-to-red and black-to-black -- and tried to jump the car. Five times. Sputter, sputter, sputter, nothing!

This wasn't really part of my plan. I had places to be! Naively, I hadn't realized that it was possible that my battery could be so dead it was un-revivable. I felt a little stranded (and was even considering enlisting a friend to drive me to an afternoon appointment). Fortunately, this time it was AAA to the rescue. An hour and a half later, I had a new battery installed plus a slightly lighter wallet.... but it was worth it! My freedom was restored!

While I recognize this was pretty minor and could have been much worse (just a few days earlier, I was driving to NC from Ohio and could have ended up stranded in the snow at a rest stop, for example), it made me realize more clearly what a transition I have ahead.

Before I go to Costa Rica, I'm selling my car (shiny new battery and all), and I don't plan to buy another one when I arrive. I knew it was coming... the days of jumping in my car and heading wherever I want, whenever I want, are numbered. We tend to think that having the freedom to get around town is our right, though. As I pray for my move to the field in general, this is one of the specific prayers on my heart. "Lord, help me to give this 'right' to you!"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Beginning of the Middle

The new year (and decade!) seemed like as good a time as any to start a blog. No matter when I start, I'll be jumping into the middle of things... and I am in the middle of an adventure, looking forward to an exciting 2010.

At the moment, though, I am looking backward and reflecting on 2009. It was eventful to say the least and most of it centered around my plans to serve as a ReachGlobal missionary in Costa Rica.

I made my first and second trips (ever) out of the United States -- visiting the Duggans in San Jose for Memorial Day weekend (a whirlwind 48 hours in Costa Rica) and joining the Church at Charlotte youth group in June on a week-long mission trip to San Carlos, CR.

I travelled to Minneapolis twice -- for the affirming and challenging ReachGlobal Readiness Event at the EFCA national office in March and for the training event (PT Live) at South Suburban EFC in October. And I travelled to Chicago once -- for a two-day seminar in May on raising support.

I took on the challenge of raising my own financial support for my two years in Costa Rica. And in the midst of a recession where a stable job could be hard to come by, I resigned from my position at Red Ventures in September to focus on support raising full-time. To make this step possible, I moved out of my apartment (my home of three years) in August as the McNamara family welcomed me into their home. What an act of service!

From late May onwards, I sent letters and emails, made phone calls, and had the privilege of meeting with more than 100 individuals/couples/families in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and Florida. As a result, I have been blessed and encouraged in countless ways, through the prayers, support, and financial contributions of these faithful partners in my ministry.

The overarching theme of the year was experiencing God's provision in a variety of ways as He deepened my faith and dependence on Him and taught me more about obedience to His will. In the midst of training for the field and raising support, I had the pleasure of spending time with family, friends, and the Church at Charlotte youth.

I realize that I've glossed over the difficulties of the past year in what I've mentioned so far. I had many friends (most of my Charlotte community) move away in 2009, I struggled with the balance of a full-time job and raising support, and I experienced periods of discouragement, loneliness, and spiritual attacks. However, I am blessed that this year has been filled with growth, encouragement, and excitement.

I enter 2010 with more than 80% of my support already raised. Please continue to pray that the Lord provides the remainder quickly so I can move to Costa Rica in February or March. Thank you for your support!!

Firmness of Purpose

At the beginning of any new year, it's customary to pause and reflect on the previous year and make resolutions for the year to come. I'll admit I've never really made resolutions (serious resolutions, at least), although it is a concept that intrigues me.

The dictionary defines resolution as a "firmness of purpose" or a "solution, settling of a problem." Of course, the Bible makes no commentary on New Year's Resolutions, but I did perform a quick search in an online concordance...

In the NIV, "resolved" appears four times, "resolutely" appears once. Variations of "persevere" (a synonym to resolve) appear twenty times, and the idea of "holding firmly" appears at least eight times. This search just scratches the surface as there are many other ways these concepts could be presented. However, it is clear that the Lord calls us to firmness of purpose in the way we live our lives.

Some highlights:

  • 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 :: When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

  • Hebrews 4:14-15 :: Therefore since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

  • Hebrews 10:35-37 :: So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay."
As we step into 2010, I pray that you and I will remember to hold firmly to our faith and the word of God, persevere through the difficult times and the challenges of day-to-day life, and resolve to know Christ better and to make Him known.

2009 was an adventure for me, but I have a feeling 2010 may top it...