Thursday, April 5, 2012
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Dear friends and family,
Recently I have been convicted by Romans 10:13-15.” For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
God has graciously given me salvation and I want to join in furthering His kingdom!
I have worked for Crossings Ministries for 2 summers now, and have spent this semester working for them as well. Crossings is a Christian camp in Kentucky for students in middle school and high school. During this summer, close to 8,000 students spent a week with Crossings and heard God’s truth through camp pastors, bible study leaders, their own youth leaders, and God’s Word.
Crossings also challenged students every week to give money to support missions, specifically a ministry in India. I spent the summer watching students give sacrificially and prayed with churches before they turned in their donations. I now have the amazing opportunity to serve with the ministry Crossings is supporting!
I will be in India from January until May 2011 seeking to help share the Gospel with families. I will be going with another girl my age and we will be joining full time missionaries. There are 2 different ministries we will be working with. One is a local slum ministry that is helping to share the Gospel. They do this primarily through a feeding program that serves over 200 children daily! It also offers a safe place for kids to come after they get out of school. We will be working with hopes of entering into a deeper mentoring relationship with the kids we feed and on improving their conversational English. The best opportunity for these kids to leave the slum is to have an adequate education and to learn English.
The other ministry we will be visiting is a home for girls. In India the main religion is Hinduism. Part of this religion is that they believe when they die, they are born again into another body. So death does not hold much permanence for them. If a couple gives birth to a baby girl, they are responsible to be able to pay for her wedding and dowry, a wedding gift. If they are not capable of doing so they and their daughter will be publicly shamed. So it is not uncommon for a couple to decide to kill their baby girl rather than face public shame. The ministry I will serve with is called Sandra’s home. This home takes in baby girls as an option for couples who can’t afford their baby or want to avoid public shame. The home has somewhere around 14 children right now!
I would love to have as many people as possible join me as I begin this new journey. I would ask for prayer for the boldness of my team and I to preach the Good News any chance we get. I ask for prayer for the hearts of the people of India, that they would hear truth and believe it so they may be united with their Savior. Pray that they would turn from their idols and worship the one true God. Financially you can also support me. I need to raise $2900 in order to go. If you are interested in giving, I have several options for you. You can go to my Paypal account and send money to my email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send a check made out to Allison Fletcher to the address
3N 124 Churchill Ct
West Chicago, IL
I will be keeping this blog while I am there -allisonfletcher.blogspot.com . I will post pictures, stories, and updates on what is going on in India once I get there. Here are some videos to watch now!
Like I said, I would love to share this experience with as many people as possible so if there is another way you would like me to communicate to you updates, just let me know.
God bless you!,
Sunday, April 26, 2009
So I got to revisit all the different ministries I had been to, and it was amazing. I love watching how God motivates different families to move in different directions, all working towards expanding His Kingdom. It is beautiful. So let me give you a run down of our week:
We went with Stan Owens-Hughes, who works with indigenous people. Stan has worked in latin america as a missionary for over 20 years. His wife is a missionary child from Africa and they have 3 children who attend El Camino Academy with Viviana. Stan has mastered how to speak about the Bible and who God is, completely by story telling. These people have grown up hearing stories from their parents and grandparents, and it is the way they will most likely open their hearts to the Gospel. It is incredible. Well Stan also, along with his stories, gives English classes for free. We went with Stan to 2 different houses where 10 kids would meet for his class and stories. The first house we went to was tiny, with a cement floor. We barely fit inside with the 10 kids all squished onto 2 benches. There was just one main room which connected to a closet sized kitchen area. There was also an upstairs where I would assume there would be a room or two for sleeping. We were greeted by an older woman who was all smiles. She kissed us and began to make something on the stove. Stan went door to door to invite the kids, and they started filtering in, all very aware that Stefaney and I were the newcomers. They each brought a notebook and pen. A girl about my age came down the stairs holding a her daughter who was around the age of 2. The older woman who had greeted us was the grandomother. For this class Stef and I taught the kids a song in English: Hallelu hallelu hallelu hallelujah Praise ye the Lord! Each of the kids wrote it down in their notebook and we made it into a game, each side saying a different part and jumping up when they sang. It was alot of fun. Then the grandmother served us hot chocolate that was made with water and not milk because milk was a luxury they didnt have. Its funny how someone who has so little gives so much. It is convicting. It makes me realize how much I am blessed with and how much more I could be... should be giving.
The next house we went to was much bigger, still with cement floors. It was bigger because the family buisness was making tomales and they used their house as a kind of factory. The whole house smelled of tomales at all times. This house no kids showed up, but we sat and talked with some of the adults of the family. They served us a tomale with coffee and milk while we visited. We also gave the adults a bit of an English class, they would try to form a question to ask us about ourselves and we would answer. We also asked some questions to them. One of the girls, who looked around my age, was going to college which was a huge accomplishment for the family. However, she was finding it hard because her classes were in the evening and someone had to pick her up after class because it was too dangerous to walk alone. See this town, Uzme, is on the southern outskirts of Bogota. This means that if the farc wanted to take you, it would be no problem- you´´re so close to the mountains already, you would just disappear. He told us of a time when Stan´s wife and children came to visit them for a dinner at their house. They put one of the men in their family out to watch the mountains, in case the farc had heard they were there and wanted to kidnap the missionary family. Stan explained it was a real danger for north americans to be on the southern outskirts because almost everyone knows someone who knows someone who could make you disappear. Stan varies his visits so that no one can expect him at a certain time every week.
Stan´s ministry really requires patience and personal relationships with these people. It is great to see how God is using him to change hearts through story telling.
On our second day, we visited Fritz and Gerd Hammershaw´s teen pregnancy home. I have been here 4 or 5 times to volunteer, and it was great seeing everyone again. It is so well run that voluteers really arent a necessity, but I like hearing how things are going. This time they only had 6 girls, all who were pregnant and ranging from 14- 17 years old. This is a home for girls who really have no other option. Either their parents have kicked them out or they cant afford a baby or they are too scared to know what to do. This home takes them in, gives them a bed, access to a nurse, and food. They are taught how to cook, clean, and really how to live like they are responsible for another life. It is an incredible ministry. The Hammershaw´s are origionally from Denmark, which has about half the population of Bogota alone. They have 4 children who all attend El Camino Academy. They lived a comfortable life in Denmark when they felt called to Bogota. Without ever having seen South America, they picked up their family and followed where God lead. They have had the teen pregancy house for around 15 years now and still keep in touch with girls who are now mothers out on their own. It was fun just hearing Gerd talk about her passions for these girls.
Then in the afternoon Stefaney and I met with a friend and went to Monzarate. We took the cable car up, and looked out over the whole city. It was raining but beautiful. There is a church there, and we went inside. There is a room filled with plaques that have miracles written on them, answers to prayer from God. It is beautiful.
There is a church there and we went inside. There is a room filled with plaques that have miracles written on them. From people around the country, answers to prayer are written so that the world may see. It is beautiful. Whenever I look out over the city the song ¨God of This City¨by Chris Tomlin runs through my head:
Monday, March 30, 2009
So the first buisness that I got right down to was going on ECA´s high school retreat!! The theme of the trip, as planned by Viviana, was Fear Factor. As you might imagine, the games weren´t exactly clean...
So I arrived at the Retreat location, Tobia, early with the planning committee. On the way there, on a public bus, we started discussing some of Antho´s fears. He mistakeningly told us his biggest fear was, of all things, spiders. Vivi couldn´t help herself. She started asking him ¨what if¨ questions that ultimately resulted in a very panicked Antho. Of course it was all in good fun.
Well I´ll just give you an overview of the weekend. Antho and Nathan were INCREDIBLE retreat speakers. The games were absolutely revolting. The fellowship was inspiring. The weather was hot. And the white water rafting was refreshing.
I think what I loved about Nathan and Antho apeaking side by side was the diversity between the two. I never felt overwhelmed by either style of teaching and they complimented each other very well. Nathan would speak emotionally and passionately and tug at your heart strings. Antho would start with a joke and speak rationally and make you think about how to apply what he was saying to your life daily. Neither was more important than the other, nor tried to be. I loved when they spoke about waiting for God´s best. I think there are times when I have settled for the good because it is here now and I didn´t see why I should pass it up. What I realized is that there has always been a deeper motive for why I have settled in certain areas of my life. I let lies seep into my heart. Lies that say I don´t deserve any better, or a hidden uncertainty on whether or not I truly believe God has a perfect plan for my life. I feel that in the past I have acted out in desperation, instead of waiting on His timing. All in all, I looked forward to session times to hear what truths they would reveal about the God we love.
Now, on to the games! I´m not sure how to segway into such a disgusting topic so here I go. Each team had 3 players. The first game involved one person being blind folded, one person could talk, and one person held open a plastic bag. The blind folded person had to use their hands to dig through a bucket of noodles and intestines, and the mouth had to tell them when they were touching a green noodle so they could put in in the bag. Needless to say I voted myself NOT to be the blindfolded intestine toucher. Now I was lucky enough that my team got out in the first round. HOWEVER Antho´s team lost a player, so I was dragged into the game again. The next round we had to drink curdled milk. Yes, you read me right. Curdled milk. You are probably wondering, wouldnt everyone get sick from that? Well apparently that didn´t matter to Vivi. So each team had a cup of milk with lemon squeezed into it so that it curdled and each person on the team had to drink and cup. The last teams to finish were out. Unfortunately my team moved on to the next round. The next round included taking raw meat and feeding it through your shirt and then yoour shorts and passing it to the next player. Now I can´t even cook raw meat, much less put it through my clothing. Thankfully this time my time lost. No more messy games!! The levels just got worse and worse until in the final round the teams had to drink a shake. But not just any shake, mind you. A shake with milk, coca-cola, intestines, liver, ground beef, tuna, and sardines. The smell itself could make you sick to your stomach. This is where the messy games basically ended. Finally.
Besides messy games, we just spent time enjoying each other. We went on a beautiful waterfall hike and went white water rafting, just enjoying the time we had together. There was one night that in the middle of the session the power went out because of a huge thunderstorm that had rolled in. Instead of cancelling the night and heading to bed, we took up a worship time. The rain was falling and it was pitch black, except for the occasional lightening, but we poured out our hearts to God. During worship, I stepped out from under cover, into the rain. As the rain beat down on me I marvelled at His power in the storm. The lightening would flash and for just a moment, the sky would light up for a split second and I could see for miles. Then the world would plunge into darkness once again. It was a time of genuine worship, rejoicing for His blessings, and crying out for His touch.
Then there were the pool games. Pool games in their origional context should be fun and light hearted, just something intersting to do to pass the time. And they started out that way. Yet as the week progressed, competitions began to arise. One afternoon, it became guys against girls in making human towers. It began light hearted but turned into a full out race. Finally, Antho calls out a challenge. He gives an ultimadum. The race is to see who can stack 3 people high first, guys or girls. He declares that if the girls lose, that Allison (thats me!) must drink one of the fear factor shakes if the girls lose. I don´t know how or why this dare became about me, but I accepted the challenge on 2 conditions. One was that if the guys lost, Antho had to drink the shake. The other was that the 3 people all had to be standing on top of one another. Antho accepted and the races began. What the guys didn´t realize was that the girls had already stacked 3 high standing, and they had never even attempted. Still, I was nervous. We had a few judges for fairness, and the intensity was high. I did NOT want to drink that shake. Both teams were doing well, and the judges were making sure both teams played fair. At last, the girls stacked their 3 high, and the guys were defeated. They tried for awhile to convince us of a rematch, but the damage was done. Antho was drinking the shake. So Antho was made to drink the liver, sardine, milk, intestines, ground beef, tuna shake. Really he just barely tasted it, not even swallowing 5 full sips. It was satisfying, though, knowing that I didn´t have to go near it. Nathan was also fully amused by the situation Antho had gotten himself into.
The last thing we did was go on a zipline. But not just any zipline. It rose 600 meters high!!! This zipline went from one mountain, over a valeey, and connected to another mountain. It was insane. The reason we were able to go on the zipline was because we didn´t fit into the vans that were supposed to take us home. So Viviana, Nathan, Antho, some teachers from ECA, and I all decided to go on this zipline before we caught another bus back to Bogota. It was incredible!!
It was a great retreat. It is so good to be back in Colombia. God has taught me so much while being here, away from home and out on the mission field. I have experienced rough patches while here, but God has never left me. He continues to build on my character and continues to mold me into His beautiful creation. I enjoyed this weekend of relaxation, and cheerfully welcome the work that is to come. God is good!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I left quickly and I wasn´t able to tell many of you much details about why I´m back.
So I was home for about a month and a half, working. I also was a jr high leader and attended the college age bible study. I actually didn´t plan on coming back, at least not this soon.
So it all started when I found out that Nathan and Antho were going down. It reminded how much I missed Colombia and wished I could go back. So I started making some phone calls to see how possible it was, and looked online for plane ticket prices. I thought about it, prayed about it, and it was actually a hard decision. I just got back home and started getting used to my schedule and friends and family. I was comfortable. But where was it ever written that we should strive for comfort? I took this year off to explore missions, and I love doing it! So why not continue? If I go to school next year, who knows when I will get an opportunity like this again. But I still struggled with what decision was ¨right¨. I knew that I wanted to go, but I felt I had some unspoked responsibility to continue working and saving money.
Then I came across a verse as I was reading Matthew: ¨No one who leaves is home or his mother or father or brother or sister or his fields, for Me and the Gospel, will fail to recieve a hundred times that in this age and in the age to come¨ Matthew 10:29
This verse cut the last thread that was holding me back.
So I am here, in Colombia, again. These first few weeks I am devoted to studying Spanish. I am set on being able to communicate properly! Then I will be working with a day care program that Fundacion Internacional Maranata is starting. I will teach English and possibly music or art. I don´t have a whole lot of details but I will let you know more as I find them out!
Thank you to anyone who is wanting to support me, but since I worked while I was home I am tight on money, but financially pretty stable.
I ask that if you were thinking supporting me financially to keep it for another time. I´m sure there are more missions trips in my future. I do, however, ask for your continual prayer support. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
These past couple weeks have been extremely hard.
There. I said it.
I´ve been really lonely. Not because I don´t have people here that care about me, because I do. Viv has become like a sister to me and we can talk to each other about anything. I´ve made so many new friendships that I thank God for... but...
Christmas is a time that a person spends with their family, their friends. And while I am spending time with family and friends, it feels like I´m an intruder. Almost like I am invading into someone else´s life. But let me make something very clear before I move on- it isn´t because of anyone here or not feeling welcome.
It is because I´m not in a place that is familiar to me. I can´t run up and jump on my sisters or wrestle around with my brothers or hug my parents. It is almost a severe case of being homesick.
It has become so severe, however, that I am questioning who I am. I know who I used to be, but who am I now?
It was easy to reach out and love people back home because I had my support system close to me. My family, my church, my friends. I feel like I´ve been thrown into a whole other world now. The last couple weeks I´ve let myself curl into this insecure shell, and I don´t know myself.
The Allison I used to know wasn´t scared or insecure, she reached out to others without any hesitation, she was a leader, she was strong.
Lately... I don´t know where she went.
And I´ve been avoiding admitting this because I put the weight of the whole world on my shoulders. I told myself I had to be stronger because people back home were depending on me. I had to be the perfect example, there was no room to stumble. I HAD to know who I was. The truth is that I don´t know right now.
So I started praying, asking God who I am. His response has been simple:
YOU ARE MINE.
I hear it over and over again.
YOU ARE MINE... AND MINE ALONE.
He has taken me away from everything I know and put me in place where it is difficult for me to speak the language and is hard to be independent, all so He could tell me I am His? I already knew that.
But I knew it in my mind and not in my heart. He has stripped me until I have nothing left, so that I may find my identity in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
I have nothing else to fall back on.
I feel like He brought me to this cliff to jump off of into the water below. I´ve jumped off cliffs with Him before, but there were always harnesses and lifejackets and lifeguards making sure everything is safe.
This time He brought me to the cliff alone, no ropes, no lifejackets.... just me and Him. And He tells me to jump off. So I did, I took my leap to Colombia. But then halfway through the jump my mind started panicking, saying that it wasn´t safe, that I maybe I should´ve waited, that I´m not equipped to do such a jump.
So my prayer now is that God will quiet my heart.
That He will give me peace and my identity will be found in Him and Him alone.
He told me to jump. He wants me here, this I am sure of.
When things around me aren´t secure, He always is. Theses are some lyrics from the group Barlow Girl:
¨I cried out with no reply
And I can´t feel you by my side
So I´ll hold tight to what I know
You´re here and I´m never alone¨
It is time for me to stop pretending I can do anything on my own. I can´t.
Thankfully He can do all things.
Please keep me in your prayers as I find my identity in Christ.
¨Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.¨ Hebrews 12:1-3
This verse has become really important to me. It says to consider Him who endured, so that we don´t become weary.
It has been hard for me lately, yes. But He went through so much more than I ever will. And how to I expect to run this race with the weight of the world on my shoulders? He says to throw it off, it is not needed.
We need to fix our eyes on Jesus, not on the saftey nets we try to keep beside us. He is our focus, and we need to run to Him with perseverance.
I was born with a purpose in mind, and the race has been marked out for me. My path is different than your path, but we both are running this race. May our focus, our Savior, spur us on.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
They dared me to go down the pole so, of course, I did.
So Casa Buena has been the main ministry i have been consistantly involved in.
I have grown to really love these kids. It is a day care for kids that normally would be left alone all day while their parents work. Casa Buena is a place where they can do homework, play games, and have fun in a safe environment. I strongly believe that Casa Buena is changing these kids lives for the better. They also are told Bible stories and encouraged to strive for a life of excellence rather than lives of compromise. These kids are so full of life and love and I pray that their joy would never be taken from them. Because of the poor neighborhood they live in, the realities of life hit them hard. I pray that they are learning to trust God with their lives turning everything over to Him. They are precious children of God and have the possibility of changing their entire neighborhood.
This is the kids Christmas party. We took them to this ranch owned by a family at ECA and they spent the day playing on the HUGE playground, playing soccer, picking flowers, and going down the zipline.
The kids were all given Christmas presents. Our church had lots of different people all pick one child to get a gift so all the cildren would have presents. They started handing out gifts and all kids kids applauded for each one given and awaited for their own. The smiles on their faces from just a simple gift was heart warming.
The girls picked flowers and we wore them in our hair
This a woman that works with the kids full time and cooks all their meals. She has 2 boys in the program and loves all the kids as if they were her own
I tend to be used as a human jungle gym, but I dont mind