What I’ve Learned

I have sat down about a dozen time since getting back from Zambia to try and share my thoughts on what I am feeling and what God taught me on this trip but each time I sat down I would find myself staring at a blank screen and my mind would just go black. But my friend Hannah who went on the Trek7 to Costa Rica just posted this blog about her time in Costa Rica and what she learned and it is pretty much exactly what I have been thinking/feeling and trying to convey to you. So instead of trying to sit down and type a new blog I thought would repost hers!!!

It feels like yesterday I was sitting in my bed at home the night before I left for training in MN. Now, 7 weeks later I’m once again sitting in my bed at home, except for this time, I’m not waking up to go on an adventure for a few weeks, I’m waking up […]

via Update 8: What I’ve learned. — Trek7

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My Ocean

The song Oceans by Hillsong United is one of those songs that many people are familiar with. When this song first came out I had claimed it as one of my favorite songs but I don’t think I ever really understood what it was saying until a couple weeks ago.

Jenna and I had been at  the Chipata Feeding Center for about a week teaching, playing, and loving on the children. One of the things I had hoped to accomplish while on this trip was to open up the lines of communication between sponsors and children but also the children’s families. I had been talking with Victoria, the onsite GlobalFingerprints manager in Zambia, and Elizabeth, the school teacher at the feeding center, about the possibility of meeting some of the parents of the children who were in GlobalFingerprints. We really wanted to bridge the gaps in communication and show them that we are here working alongside them to help them give their children the best. But most of all we wanted to show them that God is with them and that He loves their children more than they can even begin to fathom.

We planned to meet with the parents Friday morning at 10. Thursday night I was siting on my chair in our house and started to feel this huge sense of inadequacy overcome my whole body. I kept imagining all the things that could go wrong and really started to freak out. I went to bed fervently praying that God would use me in some way to impact these parents lives. That next morning I woke up with the same sense of inadequacy and started to get really nervous about speaking to these parents. I am only 18 and I wasn’t exactly sure how to portray to them that I wasn’t some young American girl who wanted to come in and save them and their children but that I was someone who wanted to show them that Jesus is the one who can save them.I wanted to show them how much I love their children with hopes that showing them a tangible love they would be able to know God’s love. That is a pretty daunting task to undertake but especially for someone who is still trying to understand the vastness of God’s love for me and for others.

As Friday morning rolled around Jenna and I hopped in the back in the the ministry bus for our ride into town. I was listening to music on the way to the Feeding Center and one of the first songs to come on was Oceans. I’ve heard this song time and time again but that morning I really heard the lyrics.

The first line is “You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown my feet may fail…. I am yours and you are mine.” In that moment I realized that this was an ocean that God was calling me out upon. He was calling me to walk out on the water, keep my eyes on Him, and trust that He will keep me afloat. I had to trust that Jesus was going to give me the words to speak to these parents. Words that were not mine but that were His. He has put me in this position to be a mama to all of these children and to walk alongside these parents for a reason. I do not understand that reason at all but I am trusting Him and walking out on the ocean keeping my eyes focused on Him.

As much as I would love to say that I am constantly keeping my eyes and my focus on Jesus it doesn’t always go that way… I am much like Peter in Matthew 14:22-33 (paraphrased) The disciples were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and they saw Jesus walking on water towards them. They saw Him and were terrified thinking it was a ghost. Jesus told do not be afraid because it was Him. Peter responded and said if it is truly you have me walk out on the water to you. Jesus told him to come. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water towards Jesus. But he took His eyes off Jesus and started looking around at the water and the wind and was afraid so he began to sink. Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter and said you have little faith, why do you doubt me??

I am Peter. I want more than anything to walk out on the water and trust Jesus with all I have. And there are times where I am so focused on Jesus that I am walking on the water but then I get distracted and I become busy and take my focus off of Him and I start to sink. But I am so grateful that God always always always catches me when I fall. He has called me out on the ocean to trust that He has a bigger plan to use me and I am excitedly jumping out on the water to follow Him but I can guarantee that I will fail time and time again and He will have to catch me.

Jesus,

Thank you so much for catching me when I fall. Thank you for always pulling me back out on the waters. Thank you for loving me the way you do and for using me the way you do Jesus! I pray for everyone reading this that they will set their focus on you Jesus and that they will trust you enough to walk out on the water towards you.

Prayer Requests:

-Adjustment back to the US both physically with jet lag and also with culture shock

– Pray for a good, productive time during debrief and that we will be able to stay awake for it all

-I left a major part of my heart in Africa with all my babies and as excited as I am to see my family and friends and start a new journey at college in just a few short weeks my heart aches thinking about how many thousands of miles are between me and all my littles. So pray that I will be able to use that in a way that will raise awareness for the needs in Zambia.

 

Thank you all so incredibly much for your constant support, prayers, and encouraging words. I would not be able to do this without you all!!

Velveteen Rabbit

Being in a third world country on a mission trip is not as glamorous as it looks in the pictures. It isn’t always adorable children running around you gently tugging on your skirt. It’s crazy children running in circles screaming, yelling, and laughing as you play with them. It’s hard work. Its’ mentally draining. It’s spiritually demanding. It’s physically exhausting. But it is oh so worth it.

Last night was an adventure to say the least. We had a mishap with some boiling water that resulting in Jenna having a second degree burn on her wrist. I had adrenaline coursing through my body trying to find medicine for her to take, cream for her to put on it, clean water to put on it. By the time we finally went to bed and fell asleep it was probably close to 1:00 and we had to be up at 7 the next morning. That made for a short night but praise Jesus we both slept through the whole night and woke up feeling pretty refreshed considering our past night. But I had a strange comfort knowing that we were doing God’s will and Satan was trying to do everything he could to stop that.

After that 7:00 alarm went off and we groggily rolled out of bed and started getting ready, Barbra came in our room and told us that Edward wanted to have a family devotional this morning before everyone went their separate ways. The devotional itself was just a few minutes long but it was incredibly encouraging.

We arrived at the orphanage around 10 after a various series of stops on the way only to be welcomed by 68 eyes staring at you, 34 mouths yelling hello, and 68 feet running towards you. Best welcoming ever!! Oh how I missed these littles!!!

There was a volunteer from a local university there who was entertaining most of the children while Jenna and I went inside to get our materials out for the day. Beatrice, one of the older girls and one of my little buddies, followed us in and then ran to the girls room. I didn’t think much about it until she came back bearing a hand written letter to me with pictures she had drawn and the absolute sweetest note written inside! I read and  did everything I could do to keep from crying.

We shared our lesson about creation, did our craft with the kids which included play dough and lots of smiling faces. After we had finished that portion of our day we all moved outside and started playing a various assortment of games. I had my sweet baby Deborah with me but this time I wasn’t just holding her, I was able to play with her, tickle her, and see her face light up every time she smiled!!

We were at the orphanage until about 3:00 just playing and hanging out with the children. It doesn’t sound like much but trust me when I tell you that entertaining 34 children all day is exhausting but oh so worth it. By the end of the day I was covered in a layer of dirt, food, playdough, and germs but none of that mattered, all that mattered was the fact that these children of Gods precious little ones who deserve the best in their live and deserve to be loved and I hope that just in today Jenna and I were able to show that to them.

In the book Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis she compared herself to the velveteen rabbit and I can’t agree more with that analogy. On my first trip to Zambia I was all happy and excited to change the world and fix the things in Zambia that needed fixed. But now on my third trip I like to think I have a different mindset. I don’t want to come in and fix everything while here, I want to come in and create relationships with people who can then create change in their lives that then affects the lives of the people around them. I want to teach these children what it means to follow Jesus and disciple them so that when I am not here, they will still know how to read their bible, what certain bible stories are telling them and how to pray. I don’t want to come across to these children or to any of you like I have this all together and that I am perfect. I am the farthest thing from perfect. But God is using me. I do not understand why He picked me but I am listening to Him and obeying His will for my life to the best of my ability. I am no longer the perfect little velveteen rabbit that I was on my first trip, I am worn, used, broken, and torn. But I am loved and I am loving those around me. I would so much rather be torn and broken and be able to show how Jesus is mending me than be the perfect rabbit who is not living in Gods will.

Prayer Requests

  • As I mentioned earlier I was covered in a layer of germs well as if it were clock work I am starting to feel a cold coming- please pray for health and that I can stop this cold from coming.
  • Pray for Jenna’s wrist, she has a pretty nasty and strongly cool looking blister on her wrist-pray for quick healing and for the burn to not become infected.
  • Pray for open hearts and minds of our littles at the orphanage.
  • Pray for the older girls at the orphanage, my heart really went out to them today and I really want to show them that they are loved by me and also by their Heavenly Father.
  • Pray for any distractions that come to mind that they will be pushed out of our minds so we can yet again focus on Jesus and His will for the trip.

Jesus,

I thank you for giving Jenna and I the opportunity to come to Zambia and serve you. I pray that you will open the hearts of our sweet little friends at the orphanage this week. Open their minds to hear what you have to say through us. Keep them close to you Jesus. Let them know that they are loved, cherished, and oh so special!

Home

Home. Home is the word I would use to describe what I feel. The joy of seeing the orphanage children again is so indescribably. I wish that everyone could feel this right now. It feels as though nothing can ever make me feel as happy as I do now.

We went to the orphanage today just for a bit but just that short time made my heart feel like it will explode. Seeing the improvements that have been made to the orphanage are astounding- from new staff members added to Sara Rose, to the physical changes that have been added to the orphanage, and most of all the growth of the children.

If anyone has been following my journey since my first trip you will know that there have been a couple children that have made a lasting impact on my life- Given, Pasco, and Deborah.

Given has been at the orphanage since she was little and has a very sweet spirit about her. She has had her fair share crap in her life but she presses on. She is 8ish years old and totally recognize me this morning!! She had the biggest, brightest smile on her face the whole time we were there!!!

Pasco is a 6 year old little boy who has cerebral palsy and as result he doesn’t have a very high range of motion that other children his age would have. He has involuntary muscle spasms and is unable to support his head. He has been at the orphanage since he was a baby. He spends his days laying on a mattress in the common room watching TV. When we walking in the room he looked very sad but as soon as I went over and he saw me and I said hello his face lit up like no other and brightened the whole room! My heart felt like it would explode with overwhelming joy!

And last but not least my sweet little Deborah! Victoria had one of the other orphanage moms bring her out and my heart skipped a beat!!! She walked up, in her school uniform, with her friend Moses and it was all I could do to hold back the floodgates! My frail and fragile little girl from last year is all grown up!! I ran over to her and picked her up immediately p gave her the biggest hug. We went into the common room and sat down and her friend Moses was with us and they started playing together. She was running around with him, smiling, laughing, and being the happy little girl I wasn’t sure she would ever be!! She is talking, she knows her numbers, and overall has improved so incredibly compared to last year!!

I knew I had left my heart here in the past years but coming back and feeling God slowly put the pieces back together has been amazing. I feel so at home here in Zambia. Everything that I remember being astonishing on my first trip seem so normal. Having spotty electricity, trash fires, crazy bumpy dirt roads, speed bumps every 30 feet, children walking around everywhere you go, people walking alongside the road with the cars and crossing the street in a moments notice, driving on the other side of the road than in America, school children in uniforms, moms carrying children on their backs, women and children holding baskets of food on their heads. It all seems so normal and I love it!! I am so incredibly thankful for all that God has done in my life to bring to to this very moment!!

Prayer Requests:

  • continued strength as we are still adjusting to the 9 hour time difference
  • wisdom when interacting with the children
  • faith to trust in Jesus and His timing for everything
  • Rissa and Johnny- especially for Rissa to reach out to the church we told her about

Jesus,

Thank you for bringing Jenna and I to Zambia. We trust in you that you have an amazing plan for our life and for this summer! Thank you for all that you have done in Zambia through Sara Rose Childrens Foundation. Please help Jenna and I to have wisdom when we are interacting with the children around us. Thank you Jesus!

In Him,

Shelbyrae

His Grace Abounds

I am in awe of how amazing Jesus is. He is always there. Never changing. He loves me unconditionally. I love that about Him. He is full of grace and is willing to forgive me no matter what I do to stab Him in the back. I get so caught up in myself that I forget these things. We become so focused on ourselves- having the best clothes, the best job, the most money, the newest phone, etc. We become so focused on material possessions and supporting ourselves that we forget to give our lives to God. We forget what is means to be solely reliant on God and to trust that He will provide what we need exactly when we need it.

One of my friends who is currently in Costa Rica with Trek7 wrote a blog about how it is so hard for us to surrender things-the big things and the little things. We get so caught up in serving ourselves that we either forget to serve those around us or we just choose not to. (To read her full post click here)

I pray that on this trip and beyond I will continue to learn what it means to surrender my life over to Jesus. That isn’t just a one time thing, it is a daily act of waking up in the morning and saying “Ok Jesus this day is yours, do with it what you desire.” It is a conscious daily activity that needs to be done. In the Jesus Calling for June 28th it says “The true question is not whether you can cope with whatever happens, but whether you and I (God) together can handle anything that occurs.” We do not need to do this life alone, we need to turn to Jesus and surrender our life to Him, and let Him take control. Much easier said than done trust me I know!

The past two years have been some of the hardest years of my life. I spent two weeks of my summer before my Junior year in Africa and fell in love. But coming back to America and the materialistic nature we embody disgusted me. Often times it literally made me sick to my stomach to see all of these people who are complaining about not have the newest phone or the newest style of clothes when I had just spent two weeks around people and children who need the basic necessities to get through life. I was angry. I was bitter. I was disgusted. But most of all I was broken. I couldn’t understand why God has put me in America when my heart was clearly in Zambia. It became a daily struggle to turn to Jesus and let Him take control. I remember there were days that turned into weeks that I was so mad at God it made it hard to get through the day.

Last year coming back from my 7 week trip was no different. I was still angry, still saddened, still disgusted, and still broken. But God placed a couple people in my life who showed me that there were hurting people right in front of my eyes. He showed me that these people have everything anyone could ever need except for Jesus. He showed me that I could be a missionary in my own backyard just as long as I was willing to put myself out there and love on those around me.

Romans 8:7-8 “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rush destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lead up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where you treasure is, there your heart will be.” These verses are incredibly convicting but they serve as a good reminder that we cannot put our hope and faith in things of this earth but in the things of above.

I pray this prayer for everyone who will read this blog and I pray that you will start to pray this for those around you as well!!

I pray that when you look at those around you that you would see them through the eyes of Jesus. I pray that you will be able to speak to them the same way Jesus would speak to them. I pray that you will be able to love them the way Jesus would love them. And most of all I pray that you will listen to God’s calling in your life-whether that be long term, short term, or someone who He placed on your heart to pray for. I pray that you are sensitive to the Lord’s little and sometimes not so little nudges.

Prayer Requests:

  • Jenna, and I met with some of the leaders and administrators of Sara Rose to plan out our time here- we will be doing a lot for GlobalFingerprints, we will be going through some bible studies with the children and discipling them!
  • Please pray for wisdom, pure hearts, and clear minds for Jenna and I as well as everyone else who will be helping us with the children!
  • Please keep Rissa and Johnny in your prayers!
  • Please keep all the other teams in your prayers (If you missed my blog with prayer requests for each team you can click here)

Thank you all so much for faithfully praying for Jenna and I on this trip so far!! It means the world to us!!

Miracles Do Happen

Hi friends! If any of you were at church at Cornerstone today then you heard Pastor Dan’s sermon about miracles and if you weren’t there, you should listen to it when it is posted to the website!! A miracle that I am looking for this year is raising my funds for my trip this summer. Below is my support letter I’ve been sending out for those of you who haven’t received one or who have misplaced theirs. At the end there is information about how you can support me if you feel led. I need to raise close to $6000 and would absolutely love if you guys would prayerfully consider donating to me and praying for me as well. Prayer is the most important part about this, I can’t do this without your guys support! Please feel free to message me with any questions about my trip and how you can give or pray. Keep your eye open for fundraisers in the future! Thank you all<3

 

Most of you have been following my journey through the mission field since I began on my first two week trip to Zambia with my church in 2014  and my seven week trip to Zambia in 2015. Well, to continue my tradition of summer trips I wanted to share with you that I will be going back again this summer for another seven weeks with Trek7! I am so incredibly grateful and ecstatic to be able to go back this summer!  

Last summer’s trip was so amazing. It was such a different experience being there for seven weeks versus two weeks. I was able to experience the culture in a different way and I really learned what it means to trust in Jesus with everything I do. I learned how to live with roommates, how to grocery shop on my own, and I really made my relationship with Christ my own. I had two other team members and  we spent about a week in each of the Sara Rose Children’s Foundation ministries which includes the Orphanage, Boy’s Ranch, Feeding Center/School, and the Crisis Pregnancy Center. One of my favorite parts of the trip was to be able to form long lasting relationships and bonds with the children as well as the staff during our time there. One little girl completely stole my heart. He name is Deborah and she lives at the orphanage. She is three years old and has been through more than you and I can even imagine. She still is a huge part of my life even here in America and I am so excited to see her again this summer.

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By the time I leave for this trip I will be on staff at the EFCA as the GlobalFIngerprints Coordinator for Zambia. Globalfingerprints is the sponsorship program through the EFCA and pairs children in third world countries with individuals and families in the United States. The individuals and families pay $35 a month and that helps the children by paying for school fees, helps pay for food, clothing, and medical expenses. Being the GlobalFingerprints Coordinator in Zambia means that I will be working alongside the other staff members in Zambia to help pair children with their sponsors as well as to raise the extra funds needed to help make GlobalFingerprints run as smoothly as possible. Now that is all important for you to know because I hope to be doing quite a bit of work with GlobalFingerprints on this summer’s trip. I hope that my team will be able to work with the staff in country to input new children into the system, update existing children, and send notes and letters to sponsors from their child(ren).. $35 a month can be equated to a meal out with the family. If you are willing to give up eating out once with your family to have an everlasting impact on children in Zambia go to globalfingerprints.org. (IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT SPONSORSHIP AND GLOBALFINGERPRINTS LET ME KNOW!!!)

I will be writing blogs as often as  the Wifi availability will allow me to. I will be posting to this blog as much as I feel led to. In addition to writing blogs for myself my team will also be writing blogs for Trek7 and you can find those here http://trek7.blogs.efca.org. I will be posting my blogs to facebook whenever they are published so that is another way to access them!

This trip is going to cost $3,000+ airfare so it will probably be close to $6,000 and while that seems like a rather large amount of money I have no doubt that God will provide everything I need! If you would prayerfully consider donating I know that God will use it and will bless so many people with it. Please make the checks payable to EFCA Reach Global and mail it to ReachGlobal 901 E. 78th St. Minneapolis, MN 55420. Include a note that designates it to Shelbyrae Myers @TREK7. I wouldn’t be able to do this without your prayers and support they mean the world to me!

Thank you all so much!!

With Love,

Shelbyrae

ZAMBIA!!!

It was around this time last year that I made the final decision to spend my summer in Zambia and I thought I would continue that tradition and announce that I will be going back again this summer!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I am overjoyed when I think about spending another 7 weeks in the country that I consider my second home. I am so excited to reconnect with all my friends I made this last summer. My heart skips a beat when I think about seeing the gorgeous smiling faces of the children at the orphanage and the feeding center again. I am so incredibly blessed to be able to have family and friends here in the US as well as a second set of family and friends in Zambia. I cannot even begin to explain to you how ecstatic I am to go back this summer!!!

I will be spending another 7 weeks in Zambia with a trip through the Evangelical Free Church Of America, Trek7. Being that it is fairly early I do not know exactly who my teammates will be or what I will be doing. I am just trusting that God has a plan and that He will knit together the perfect team whose skills and passions complement each other so that we can serve our Heavenly Father in amazing ways!

Now if any of you have been on a mission trip or have ever supported someone going on a trip, you know that it is not a cheap endeavor so therefore I will be sending out support letters, hopefully selling t-shirts, and doing other fundraisers in order to be able to make this trip happen. I will need $3,000 for on the ground costs plus airfare which will end up being around $2,000-$3,000 so in total i will be needing around $5,000-$6,000 in all!! But I have seen God work in crazy ways and if Zambia is where I need to be this summer I have full faith that my trip will be covered! I always explain it is as jumping off a cliff blindfolded. I I am jumping off a cliff into Africa and just trusting that Jesus will catch me and support me in everything I do!

If any of you would like to receive a support letter to learn more about what I will be doing and would like to support me, private message me with your home address and I will send a letter to you! I love each and everyone of you and pray for you all often!! Without your guys support and prayers doing what I do would be close to impossible!!