I built a Labyrinth!

Posted by Teen Bean

So today we headed down to the boiler house and began our preparations for the 24-7 Prayer week that we are having here. these weeks can be pretty hard core, well for the simple reason that for one solid week, 24 hours every day we will have people praying at the prayer house. The transit team is responsible for setting up some of the prayer stations, so we each are responsible for certain parts. i have to set up the wailing wall and an outdoor activity. So i decided to to build a labyrinth... for those of you who don't know, Labyrinths are prayer mazes that allow "the prayee" to go on a journey through their prayer time. Its pretty cool to just take a very spiritual journey and make it into a physical journey.

so i looked up on line how to build these "amazing prayer mazes". It seemed pretty straight forward. Today i started reading the instructions and began to realize how completely non-straight forward it was. If my amazing roomie gemma (the masters degree in math) hadn't benn there for me i would have just lost it! There was all this freaking math and diameters and radiuses and to top it off, all this crap is done is meters and all i wanted to do was have a tape measure to read in feet!!

SO HOURS AND HOURS LATER... i am still pegging out the lawn and painting out the "structure"... THEN i got to go back over the whole thing with string... needless to say the sun started to set and i was still winding my way around the front lawn. I even ran out of pegs and had to literally run to town because the "do-it-yourself" shop was about to close. but much to the complete lack of light, i was able to finish... dirty, cramping, and frozen... but it was soooo worth it. i am so excited to actually walk through it. tomorrow I am going to set up some good "pondering prayer points" through out the maze... and wahhhlaaaahhhh amazing holy spirit spiritual potential!!

ok gots to run... the girlies are over for a movie and we are all vegging tonight before the big hooplahhh of this all gets started!!

wink wink!

Encouragement Day

Posted by Teen Bean

so today is wednesday and traditionally we are suppose to spend the whole day studying. in reality this just can't happen. i don't "study" like that. i should prolly dedicate a few more hours to study day.. but the day just always seems to get away from me. so early, when i started this term i really wanted to start making a difference to the people who are around me all the time. Just because we keep talking about how God blesses us because he wants us to go out and bless others. I have been ridiculously blessed both by my friends and family back home, as well as all the new friends (and family!!) I have made here. I don't want the blessing that is happening in my life to just stop with me, when it really can be passed on and multiplied in so many different ways. so i've decided to start an encouragement day to be linked into my study day. I want to think of at least one person that i can encourage for the week either through a phone call, or letter, or e-mail, or photo, or gift... or whatever and then make them my "project" for the day. Today was my first encouragement day and it was hard. I actually worked an encouraging three people today because i really want to encourage one person (intentionally that is) a week sense we have been back from 2nd term and we already have been back three week and i have yet to properly encourage anyone. 

so my three victims... or encouraged-to-be are my mentor Joyce, Nicola, and Ruth. Joyce is a wonderful italian lady that has just been so helpful to me while i've been here. We get together about once a week and i get to just let her know what is going on in life and just pretty much vent on to her. She has been such a great encouragement to me... she just seemed like an good first start. And she in and of herself has an amazing story. She is married to an albanian man and they had to flee their country because of a war that is going on there. They showed up in the town that i live with two suitcases and a 6 month old baby girl. They have taken crazy risks in life just trusting the places God has called them and watching Him provide for them in the most amazing ways. One of the times i was being mentored i was over at Joyce's house and she was saying how she really misses all her pictures because she had to leave them all behind in albania. So over the last couple of months i have made it my goal to get some pictures of their family and a lot of grace. Then today i went and found some good frames from the 2nd hand shoes and put some of my favorite photos in the frames. i am so excited for her to see them tomorrow!
  then i really wanted to encourage this girl my age, her name is Nicola. She went on a missions trip to africa (i think about a year ago) and fell madly head over heals in love with a local boy there. They pretty much have dated for the last year over the phone and e-mails i assume and they have decided that when she graduates uni in this spring they will get married!! But right now he is still stuck in South Africa and she is here in England. They totally love each other and God and right now they are really just waiting on God and his timing for providing his visa, and money to come over, and money for them to get married, and plans for them to go back to South Africa. So, i really was just totally understanding how hard it must be to be separated from someone you love. So, today i went and found a locket in the 2nd hand shops (it was only 10 bucks!!) and i am going to print a picture of them off and slip it in this locket and then in the secret of secret drop it off and hope that it really brightens her day.
  the last bit of encouragement i wanted to do was with this incredible 12 year old named Ruth. She is just completely adorable, but totally at that awkward stage of life. She get bullied pretty bad at school and just is starved for positive attention and friends. She pretty much velcroed herself to me at the beginning of this term and i have taken her under my wing... just wanting to be a good friend and give her some time and attention. So we had her over for dinner tonight and just made food and played games and listened to music and did each others hair... she did get a little wild sugar high after downing quite a few glasses of coca cola... but all in all in was a good experience
   i think i really really really enjoyed my encouragement day and am definitely planning on one next week. its hard thinking of the sacrifices i will have to make in order to make wednesdays all about other people, but i really think it will be a good lesson for me to learn. As much as i can i am going to keep any encouragement gift giving on the down low... one because i think it will be hilarious to see if people get psyc'd out... but mostly because i think it will be HILARIOUS TO SEE IF PEOPLE GET PSYC'D OUT!!! HA HA HA
   well i have an early start tomorrow and we are going to pray in the park to do some hard core prayer walking. i really look forward to the days we go out prayer walking because it makes the prayers seem so much more alive and active... which i am totally more into!! peace and love to the people!


Posted by Teen Bean

so its 2:30am on friday and i just got done with my prayer slot at the boiler house. i have this obnoxious head cold, so i wasn't super excited about going down there. It also is quite chilly here (nothing like back home... but anytime ice freezes i get a little angry). so i bundled all up about a quarter to one and headed down for my prayer slot. Once there i am reminded all again why God is so amazing. The prayer room is so comfy on our 24-1 prayer nights... i just end up wanting to be there all night! usually i try really hard to keep my prayer slot that night about praying for people who i know are going through hard stuff. I have three people in particular i am praying for that they would just come to know Christ in a new and deeper way. I also really like to make things during my prayer slot, so tonight i brought along some wire and ended up making this big wire heart and painting it red. I am going to use in when we decorate for the week of prayer we are having the first week of feb... so i just spend a lot of time praying as i put the heart together for all the people who are going to come to the boiler house and join in the prayer week. i love having something physical to be working on while i pray. it just helps me to focus on the topic and not just shoot off one or two sentences on the matter and then move on. so i was putting this heart together by winding layer after layer of wire around an out line of heart i had made on the bulletin board. but the wire heart wouldn't keep its shape unless i went around and bound it together and fixing its form fully in the shape i wanted. It really reminded me how are hearts are like that. Layer after layer of wire (or desires), that came be shaped by what we let bind them. God calls us to bind our hearts around his word, his promise, he new covenant with us.. when we do that he takes our form and shapes us into the new creations he makes us to be! i really was just praying for that then... and even now ...that God would really just shake the people that come in and see this heart i made. that they would realize how important it is to give the form of their heart over to God and let him form it.

after i finished my prayer slot i headed home... jamming out to Vices on my ipod. i ended up stopping and chatting with this slightly drunk girl (mostly to check and see that she was ok and could make it home cuz she was slow going...). she said that she was fine and was just out with her mates at a club, but they had gotten into a fight and she had split. She assured me she was fine and had a place to go so i left it at that. while i was walking away i really felt like I should have prayed for her. I thought about turning around and going back,  but i didn't. now that i am home i am actually pretty annoyed that i missed the chance to pray with her. I think God really wanted me to. I prayed that God wouldn't let that poor girl miss out on being drawn into his kingdom because of my lack of commitment to listen when God calls... And i had just come out of a prayer house... i should have been at my sharpest! So please be encouraged by my lack of action... But shove that pride off and be bold enough to look the fool and ask people to prayer for them... cuz if you don't you will regret that more then looking like one of those "crazy jesus people".

so here i sit now closing in on 3am and just think... it was a good night of connecting with God, but also a good night to learn that i have a lot of growing in him to do! prayer makes a difference... i want to be that difference!

Posted by Teen Bean

hey karen!! thanks for the wonderful box. everyone keeps telling me how spoiled i am because my friends in america are so awesome to send us stuff. i pretty much let them know how cool all americans are!!! 

but seriously this box was more than i ever imagined and i completely loved getting it... it was amazing! the lip gloss rocked my world and because i you i pretty much own the black market on carmex!!! i love being in power!!

days that i get mail/ packages from america are my favorite!! so a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to send me mail... its my favorite thing and the way i feel totally loved!! mwahhh

Term #2

Posted by Teen Bean

First term ended with a bang. My family was able to come up that last week and it was really good to have them here. I got to play tourist for a week and we ran around London pretty much taking pictures next to every statue we cam across. My favorite of the whole time they were here was driving Rob and Sally's car to Stonehenge... there is nothing in this world that can satisfy the desire to drive expect driving itself!!! I also was able to go to Les Miserables and, let me tell you, that show was incredible! the acting is beyond anything i have yet to witness in my life. 

After my family left, i traveled to Birmingham (about 3 hours from here; smack in the middle of the country), where Charl and her family live. They had invited me back to their place for Christmas. It was pretty much the best way i could have celebrated Christmas. Charl's family was too nice. They made me feel just like one of the family and i was soooo blessed to be able to spend that time with them! they gave me my own stocking and mac and cheese (i showed them how to string popcorn and was ridiculed the whole time for it!!)

Right before the New Year I flew to Denmark to visit an old friend, Kristine. This seriously was the highlight of the break for me. Copenhagen was beyond beautiful and just the simple ability to go and ride bikes through the city was fantastic. I was able to get all over and see the famous little mermaid statue, Christiania, eat danish food, go to some fabulous danish parties, eat more danish food, tour Carlsberg Brewery!!! Kristine was an amazing host and did such a good job making sure i got around to all the talked about spots.

It also was amazing to travel to Denmark because it really allowed me, for the first time in 4 months, to just step outside this Christian bubble i had put myself in. I always talk about how much i hate people that live in Christian bubbles and i had not realize how deep of a bubble i had gotten into. My danish friend is not a believer and non of her friends were either. They were never rude to me, but i was told that talking about God just shouldn't happen. I spent a lot of time in prayer that week and God was just totally amazing to me. He busted open my world and my desire for prayer in a way only He can. While i was there, i just realize what life would be like if i didn't live with God in the center. My friends in denmark were totally normal adults, they did fun things, had good laughs, had life goals. But even so, I could just feel how they lived with out any really hope for their future. God also really made me desire after the prayer times i have with my friends here in England. We do morning prayers every morning and to be fair, during first term i really dragged my feet about it. But when i got to denmark and realized what it is like to have to pray every day by yourself, it made me realize what an honor it is to have people to pray with! 

So I got back to England safe and sound and started back to the Second Term of transit on Jan 5th. This term i am bound and determined to have more change happen in me then during first term. First term i was getting my feet wet and in the process letting them drag a lot! i was afraid to really trust God because i didn't want to fully sacrifice to him! That fear is still there, but at least i have named it and can pray against it now. First term the transit program was very structured and planned out for us and now that we are into second term we are allowed to choose a few ministries and start making some decisions for ourselves. That being said i have just spent a week really sacrificing into Gods will. i spent some time fasting, and loads more time praying, to see just really connect with God in his call for my life (both for this term and overall!). Its actually been a really hard week and i wouldn't say i've had any new revelations from God, but i definitely just got more comfy in his presence and was able to express more of who i am through some stuff i wrote and made... so that was really helpful 

One thing that for sure will be different this term is that i will be spending time at this hostel called Ruth House. It is kind of like a shelter/ supported living for single teenage moms and single homeless young adults. It really does a great job providing simple and practical needs for the disadvantaged in our community and i really look forward to helping. I also think i am so interested becauseNumbered List i'm exploring the idea of God calling me to start one of these hostels myself somewhere! It would be totally freaky yet totally wonderful... so we will see! 


from left to right: my sisters, mom and i at the london bridge.
                                me outside the queens theater waiting for our show
                                me in Brimingham at some christingle service.... they gae us these oranges
                                with candles and candy stuck in them! it was funny!


from left to right: me in denmark with some of the best friends ever Kristine and Brit!
                                me and charl on our first retreat of 2nd term... back home in england!