My Mission Trip to France=$3800

I have raised $3,857.00 to date. My support raising is complete! Thank you!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Here's a copy of my prayer letter.

Dearest friends and family,

I watched the sunset from a surfboard my last night in France. It was beautiful; the water was glassy and calm as the sun sank into the sea. It was a rich time of beauty and joy, a description most exemplary of my time in France this summer.

Through our hostel ministry we were able to give bibles to 3 guests, and clearly communicate the gospel to many more. When our guests found out that their hostel staff was with the church, many of them exclaimed,
“Wow, you haven’t tried to evangelize us yet…you sure you're with the church?” Our love and genuine care lead to many intimate conversations on life and God. God literally gave us the nations as we hosted people from nearly every country in Europe. Our prayer was that our guests’ barriers to Jesus would be broken down by how they encountered our faith. Many of our guests came to our church plant in Hossegor, and one night we had 11 nations represented in our service.

Here’s one story: We saw one woman, Noelle, come to know Jesus during her stay. At first, we found her very argumentative over Christianity, and she proclaimed herself a very strong Buddhist. However, one day she asked our long term missionary to talk with her, and when he shared the Gospel, she accepted Jesus into her heart. Praise the Lord! That very same day, which happened to be Bastille Day, she asked to get baptized. We took her to the beach, and with great enthusiasm, she ran into the waves, proclaiming her life was not her own, but Jesus’.
Since then, Noelle still struggles with a severe nicotine/alcohol addiction, and is very scared of the demonic activity that surrounds her old Buddhist cult in Paris.
Please pray for angels to surround her and for demons to flee. Pray also for freedom from her addictions and for a Christian community that can rehabilitate and grow her in the Lord.

Too many times this summer did our guests ask, “Are you Mormons?” This was so disheartening and humbling each time. My heart for missions greatly increased this summer. God’s heart is to make His name great among the nations. This is truth, and I developed a heart to pray Christians will be known not only for their works, but also for their fervor in spreading the Gospel of Christ.

This Gospel is communicated in God’s Word, which transforms lives, as we witnessed in our French community this summer.
Here's another story:
Victoria is a French girl in our bilingual church about to embark on the great adventure that is university. Many of your know my heart for student ministry, and loving Victoria this summer was just so natural for me.
Victoria lost her dad to cancer three years ago, and we instantly connected through our mutual experience of losing a parent. She loves the Lord and likes to write worship songs to Him. She is also a devout Catholic.
We had a sleepover, and in that time I got to encourage her in her purity and in pursuing a godly life. I expressed that though many of her French girlfriends don’t live this way, she is not alone because many Christians walk with God in purity while single, me being one of them. I told her I would love to encourage her in this, even from America. I also got to encourage her to read her Bible.
I walked her through our team devotional, and she shared how she had never tried to interpret the Bible before (Catholics don’t believe laypeople have the authority to read God’s word), but that she liked learning about God this way. I connected her with our long-term missionary, whose heart is encouraging French Christians to read their bible and multiply their faith. P
lease pray for her to continue to grow in the Lord through his Word and in living a godly life.She’s off to Paris for university, and I truly believe that God has great plans for using her in His kingdom.

Fear is an emotion that has dominated much of my life, but the Bible preaches, “God’s perfect love casts out all fear.” God is teaching me a lot about being fearless in his love. As autumn approaches, I am trying my hardest to fearlessly leap into uncertainty. I’ve committed my next four months to prayer and seeking guidance. I am open to being a missionary overseas, and now have realized that I indeed could survive and thrive in France. We’ll see what happens, as there are also some beautiful opportunities stateside that I’d love to follow the Lord into. I’ll keep you updated!

Thank you for your support this summer. The prayers, hopes, and loves of my support team were so encouraging to me during my time in France. I want to emphasize that my ministry there is YOUR ministry as well, because it’d be impossible without you. That being said, I’d love to invite you to continue to pray for our French family.

Please pray for:
Our Pioneers missionaries in France. They’ve just purchased a property that they hope to turn into a Christian café/second hostel next summer. In addition they will resume their English business this Fall. Ministry opportunities are so great; pray they would receive guidance on where to focus their energies.

Our French church community. Pray they would develop a great fervor for the Word of the Lord. Also, pray they would receive a pastor, as their church is desperately seeking one. Also, we saw our church plant in Hossegor double this summer. Pray it would continue to grow.

Community for our French youth. Pray specifically for Victoria, Pauline, Theirry, Pauline, James and Helen. Pray specifically for Marion, as she doesn’t know a single Christian who attends her highschool – pray the Lord would send her at least ONE friend.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity this summer. I humbly pray the Lord will use our offerings to the glory of His kingdom.
And as always, please let me know how I can pray for you. :)

Most lovingly and humbly,
Sheena

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

home.

I am home. Literally.

Our debriefing for our trip is here at Pioneers headquarters, in Orlando, FL, which is conveniently the same city I live in.

Yesterday I drove my car.

Things felt different from before. When I came back from Europe last fall, everything was strange, and weird, and big and different.
This time around everything feels normal, like maybe I never left. I miss France, but I feel the reality of my current location. I also feel very ready to be here, right now, present and in Orlando.

Praise the Lord.

More to come later, so much more. There are some beautiful things I have been learning with God and I can't wait to share them with you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

adieu.

God is beauty and God is love.
I have found the loving, patient, strong face of the Lord in the beauty I see in this continent.

Tonight I walked with the girls on my team around London. Each step down these streets is steeped with history and reminds me of the immense power we have to change the world when we surrender our lives to God.

What a beautiful Lord we serve.

What a GOOD Lord.

Tomorrow, I'll be home. Goodbye France, Goodbye Europe. Hello next step.

And arm and arm with Jesus, I'll go...

Monday, August 2, 2010

in the morning (a verbal vomit ramble)

[indulge me.]

I've been sleeping in the hostel this week. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at it...sounds of partied out guests thundering up our wooden stairs don't wake me...as they should.
"Excuse me, it's 3am, can you please be quiet for our other guests?" are words that should be utter from my lips every night.
But they don't wake me up. Just everyone else.

Oops.

But I love seeing them in the morning.
Waking up and seeing a big beautiful kitchen, with 14 places set.
Knowing that different faces and stories and lives will soon fill their spots.

Ok. First things first. There must be coffee. There must be tea. "How many people are here this morning? Where are they from?"
Experience has shown me that if they are from England they like tea; Aussies and American's like coffee. It's a toss up otherwise.
Ok so make both, great.

"Chloe, what are we cooking for breakfast?" are the next words naturally out of my mouth. We discuss our options while setting out cereal, fruit juice, jams, honey, milk and sugar.
And Nutella.
Of course.

French toast it is.

"Hello good morning!" mhmm is the normal mumble. Occasionally there are the chipper ones - morning birds. Gotta love 'em.

The usual "Where are you from?" "Why are you here?" is passed between strangers, as they become friends one slurp of cereal at a time.

"Would you like coffee or tea? Perhaps a bit of toast? We're making french toast today, it will be ready in just a moment?"

Words I say everyday. Like a computer, on repeat. But I'm sincere. I love serving them. I love hosting them, letting them know that here, in our walls, they are taken care of.

We wrap up, it's 10am and breakfast is over.
Cereals away, yogurts in the fridge, juice and milk as well. "Is there any more French toast left?" Yes!" I grab a piece as I do dishes. Chloe sweeps, and then we must mop.
Chairs on the table - here we go.
Recycling and garbage outside. Off to the bins I go.

"Bonjour!" mister man who always walks his dog at the same time every day. Good to see you again.

Back in the hostel. Kitchen is clean and closed.
Ten minute power nap. Is anyone on Facebook or Skype? Hmm, I must read my bible before our meeting.

Okay. *God*

"Is the kitchen still clean?" I think. One last look.
Ahh, voila! It's perfect. Ready for more stories, more faces.

"Lord, let them know here they are safe. Let them know here, they are loved.
Lord, let them know here they are prayed over and cared for. "

Time for our daily meeting. Great. Now everyone cane echo this prayer too.

And we do.

Everyday.


Monday, July 26, 2010

a Photo Journal post: I went to Spain and jumped off a bridge, cont'd

Meeting up with friends in San Sebastian - yay Spain! Becky and I with our heartattack burger. Way to rep America!

I COULD NOT figure out how to get under this railing. SOOO NERVOUS. Apparently, in times of fear I become a statue. Lol.

Did it. Twas awesome. Like flying!

I just kept laughing and screaming "That was awesome!" :)


Our wonderful hosts made us pancakes WITH SYRUP for breakfast. Mandy and Nathan are proud to be Americans.

San Sebastian! is beautiful!

Marina! Look at that beautiful blue sky!

hmm...basque protests....cross the border and the basque presence gets more intense...

san sebastian theatre

Spain+France EDGE girls! Just a lovely time with some lovely people.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Puenting en España

translation: I jumped off a bridge in Spain today.
It was fun. :)
video

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Je voudrais une glace, s'il vous plait.

...translation: "I would like an ice cream, please." One of my most commonly used phrases...

I have found a glacier that sells ice cream made from sheep's milk, which I am not allergic to. It tastes better than regular ice cream, and I am so thankful for it.

In other news.

Life since my last update seems to have only accelerated.

Here are some fun things that occurred two weeks ago:
The girls on our team, and one long term staffer, all went to my favorite beach, Cote des Basques, to go surfing. It was awesome. The waves were small, but many, and that made surfing a little hard because you just kept getting pounded...


That same night, my teammate Mandie and I went to the beach again and saw the most beautiful sunset and waves.

We had a petanque social at the hostel. Many people came out and it was lots of fun.

After working at the Picone's, I invited Victoria and all her friends over to our apartment for a movie night. After watching the sunset from our balcony, I made them pizza and popcorn, which is rare here, and we watched a Nooma video on the story of Job. Afterwards we read the Bible, and discussed what we could learn about Job with each other. It was a really beautiful, really rich time.

Later on that week, a woman in our church in Biarritz, who is actually a missionary with another organization, had a hip-hop recital. It was in the huge ballet theatre downtown - everyone went and it was a really great time.

The week after that was a really big soccer week. Biarritz is a 30min drive from the Spanish border, and every win for Spain has been HUGE here. Dancing in the streets and such (which is pictured below). My teammate Mandie and I got to witness a little bit of this after the huge win that put Spain in the finals.
In addition, there was a Basque festival that night, so we got to see some traditional Basque dancing.



One of the weekly events that happen here at team meals. It's time when we can get together as a hostel staff family twice week and share a meal. This time has always been fun, crazy, and just wonderful - all things you can expect when feeding 15+ people, I suppose!


Another lovely thing has been Lake Marion, a beautiful lake 5min walk from the hostel. I like to run here.

The past week has been a whirlwind as well.

RoxyJam, the international longboard women's surf championship, was hosted in Biarritz. So many concerts, art shows, and festivals came out of it. It was such a fun time. I helped lead worship at Hossegor again, which was wonderful. Then we sat in our allpurpose/church room downstairs from the hostel with all our hostel guests, church members, Edge team and families, and watched Spain WIN.
What a night, vive Espagne.
As well, the two girls from a Pioneers Edge trip in Spain came to visit for a bit this week. We had a girl night and watched Gilmore Girls, dyed our teammates hair, and saw went to the local theatre to see Twilight...in French. Which was hilarious.
In addition, we had a fun karaoke night for our "Apero Night", or our bi-weekly hostel socials.

Pictures coming shortly.

Oh, and some things to look forward to this weekend:

I'm going to Spain for the weekend, our whole team is, to visit the Edge girls in San Sebastian. Bungee jumping off a bridge might be one of the activities included....

again, pictures coming shortly. :)

laters!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

about sharing my testimony

Three Sundays ago at our church plant in Hossegor, a famous surf town just north of Biarritz, I had the opportunity to share my testimony with our church family.

Honestly, the whole day before, I was quite nervous.

Ok, I was out of my mind freaked.

Some thoughts that ran through my head were: "What if French people are just overwhelmed by the intensity of my story, and just think it's inappriopiate because they've only known me for three weeks?" "What if they are offended by my bad experience with Catholicism?" "What if the translation turns out wrong and they don't get the heart of what I'm trying to say?"

That day I opted out of "after morning church" lunch, and took some time by myself to write out every word of my testimony, so that it would be easier for my translator to translate. This was such a rich time, and God really helped me to articulate what I wanted to share in my testimony.

By the time we left for Hossegor that afternoon, I felt prepared, but still nervous.

Everytime I drive to Hossegor, I get car sick. I've never struggled with carsickness before, except for the last time I was in France. I think it's the winding roads and crazy roundabouts that are EVERYWHERE in this country. AND the fact that every car is a manual (jerky driving).

Needless to say, everytime I get to Hossegor, I'm on the verge of throwing up, shaky-legged, pale faced, needing to sit down and drink water for AT LEAST half an hour. It's miserable.

That Sunday was no different.

But God is so good. My dear French friend, who is fluent in English, Audrey, came to bring me some water, and I got to share my testimony with her. She then agreed to translate for me, which was SUCH an answer to prayer, because she knows my heart and I was confident would communicate everything I would want to share with this church family.

I didn't sing worship that week, which was a relief. After worship, Christophe prayed for me, and I shared my testimony with our church. It all went well. Praise the Lord.

One of our hostel guests, Oliver, came to hear me speak and to check out the church.
It was so great to get to know Oliver, who lives in London. He said he had a lot to think about when it came to Christianity, but that he really appreciated the beauty and the honesty in my story.

The response after the church service was amazing.
Pauline, a dear friend of Victoria's, whom I've shared about before, just came up to me and shared how she loved my story and how it was good for her. Tears in her eyes, she said "I wish I could tell you more, but I don't know how to in English, but thank you."
It was so good to just hug her.

Helen is another dear friend of Victoria and Pauline's, and she also shared with me how moved she was by her story. She shared how God really spoke to her through it and how she was convinced she is in the process of understanding God's love for her.

Caroline, another dear friend I've made at our Hossegor church who's my age, shared how my NAME had been in her head ever since the first day I met her. She said it was weird, how she was always thinking about my name, but that after I shared my story, she knew it was because God wanted her to listen to me and to the truth that He is good and He loves her.

It was such a beautiful night in such beautiful community.


Thank you dearly to all who prayed.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Since I've been gone...

Biarritz has captured my heart.

I don’t know how else to explain it, other than I feel so alive and am so IN LOVE with being here, right now. The Lord is so sweet to me, everyday feels so refreshing and lovely.

Last Monday I had my first FRENCH surf lesson! Biarritz being a world famous surf town, I figured I better learn how! I must admit, the fact that my surf teacher did not speak a LICK of English was a bit terrifying… Being unsure of what he was yelling at me, over huge and pounding waves, twas a bit unnerving, especially since they were probably phrases loaded with info that will help me stay alive no doubt. However, all in all it was really good fun!
Jeanne, one of our guests in the hostel, is from Quebec, and such a sweetheart; we became friends really fast. She was a guest at the hostel for only a couple of days, but we connected with her over our football watching/crepe making “apero night” (our weekly hostel socials). She’s on an amazing adventure throughout Europe, and wanted to go surfing, so I told her I’d go with her. It was so much fun, and although the waves were too big for beginners to stand up on, we considered our time in the water a success.




June 19 is the Fête de la Musique, which is a national holiday in France in which every town celebrates its local music. In Biarritz there was a lot going on, ranging from rock concerts to Basque choral singing. That night Jeanne, my teammates and I, met up with some friends from our church here in Biarritz and explored music in the city. It was a lovely night in community, and hearing the variety of music and celebrating with the locals the beauty of their culture was so much fun. Late late that night, my teammate Mandie, Marion, our dear friend from church, and Jeanne and I went on to Bayonne, a nearby town, where we got to listen to more music ranging from Salsa to 70’s disco.

Bayonne is just beautiful. It reminds me a lot of old town Bilbao and Florence. It has a beautiful and gigantic gothic cathedral, which is having classical music concerts every Saturday night throughout the summer. Who’s excited about that? This girl! (This is one of my favorite pictures that I’ve taken so far)
The next day Jeanne and I spent the day together in Biarritz, getting tapas, ice cream and walking around the town and the beach. It was such a treat to share stories and become better friends with such a wonderful girl. I especially enjoyed getting to share with Jeanne my journey with God, and we had a really great conversation on the rights of women and social injustice in the world. Miss you Jeanne!
Last week some of my teammates and I began helping out at Catherine Picone’s. Catherine is a widow and a mother of 6. She is a very good friend of our staff family, and it has been such a joy to serve her in helping with some cleaning tasks and construction tasks around her house. WHICH IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOME I HAVE EVER BEEN IN. Catherine and her husband, who died from cancer nearly three years ago, worked very hard on making their house reflect a traditional Basque-French home. It’s even been featured in some magazines! Catherine invited our WHOLE TEAM over for lunch one day. She served us yummy lamb and the most amazing tirimisu and gâteau chocolat (chocolate cake) I’ve ever had!

Catherine is also the mother of Victoria, another high schooler who attends Hossegor church and is the same age as our dear friend Marion. These girls are so special to me; I am sure you will hear more about their stories later.
Not only are they beautiful women of God, they are amazingly talented as well! So many jam sessions have been had between these two and other church members – I wish I could share these beautiful sounds with everyone!
This week I also got a really great opportunity. Audrey, another dear friend of mine from our church, had to go to Paris to take a test for her degree, and needed someone to fill in for her two English classes on Wednesday. So my teammate and I got to teach lil’ French kids English. This was one of my favorite things so far! The children were such a delight (we taught them the verb “do”) and meeting and interacting with their parents was even better! Please be praying for this “business” aspect of our church here. They desperately need someone to take over the English business for them, and it’s such a great opportunity!

Life here has been 1000mph, or kph rather. In an effort to be brief, our events for the rest of the week looked like this:
Another staff family from a town about two hours away from Biarritz came to visit our staff family, so we took the two families’ kids (about 9 of them!) out to the beach for the afternoon!
We served Catherine Picone with construction/cleaning work.
We had a girl’s night and made Dutch pancakes and watched Dirty Dancing with our long term staff girl here.
We prepared a dinner for our entire team, and hosted another “apero night” with crepes/football watching for the hostel.
We had our first Sabbath on Saturday. I went to the beach all day and read books and journaled – it was awesome.


I got to watch a tourist do this…but maybe next time it will be me?

That Saturday night, we also went to a Father/Son soccer game that our host and his son participated in. It was so fun, and a double celebration of our lil area in Biarritz. In the summer, every small town has a “fête” where a marching band comes out and plays and there’s a cookout, huge dinner, and some kind of merchants. For our lil area, there was a huge FLEA MARKET type thing, and I got some fun things, which you can be on the lookout for. :)

On Sunday I was given the amazing opportunity of sharing my testimony at our night church service, in Hossegor. Friends, it was so beautiful, and God answered so many prayers I had…and MORE, so I much so I will dedicate my next blog post to it. That being said, I hope you are all doing just lovely, I miss you dearly, I hope you are enjoying and being blessed by being a part of not only my story, but God’s story and God’s work here in France.

Until next time!
Grosses bises, *Sheena

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Small Video to Say Hello From Our Hostel Guests

For the past week, every morning my teammate Ashley and I have been making breakfast for our hostel guests. We've made sausage and tomato hamburgers, scrambled eggs, croissants and waffles and brioche, bacon and tomato and onion burgers, and french toast. In addition, we always serve them hot tea and coffee, and offer the everyday staples of cereal, toast, and fresh fruit. We always have a surf movie playing as a backdrop. So many fun relationships have been made over our breakfast table, and we've had so many treasured conversations.
Here's a small video to show you what this time looks like:


video

As a quick update, today was church Sunday, and it was such a beautiful time at both the Biarritz and Hossegor churches. I helped lead worship tonight at Hossegor, and had to opportunity to sing worship in both French and English. It was such an amazing honor, and I had so much fun. Tomorrow, my long term teammate and I are going to Anglet, a nearby beach, to get surf lessons with a hostel guest. I'm both nervous and excited, but probably more excited.

If I get pictures from tomorrow, you can bet they'll be up on here soon.

D'accord. Bonne nuit tout le monde!

avec tout mon affection,
*Sheena

Friday, June 18, 2010

Life in Biarritz. And I may never leave...

*Note: I was recently told by staff here that we had no security issues. So, I am happy to share that I am in BIARRITZ, a surf city on the southwestern coast of France. This is a unique location infused with southern French and Basque culture.

This city is even more beautiful than the pictures I looked up before I arrived; winding streets littered with old white houses with either green, red, or blue painted shutters. Flowers are frivolously everywhere, on overpasses, street corners, and many house windows. They litter city corners like city streets are littered with boulangeries (yumm).

My heart is happy.

I feel like I'm home.

Being in Biarritz has been amazing.
The opportunities I've had to minister and grow in the Lord thus far have been overwhelming. For the first time in my life I really feel like God has enabled me to have something to offer to His church and His body.

Just to recap, my team and I are here to help out with two church plants and help run a surf hostel and it's surf minstry.

Since we've been here, we've gone to the two church plants. One is actually held at the hostel's all purpose downstairs room, which used to serve as a ballet studio. This church is about 30 big, and completely French and family oriented. After every Sunday service the church eats lunch together; this past Sunday being no different. We went to the service, then ate lunch after, where I met some French girls my age and instantly connected. We've stayed in contact via Facebook since, and I'm so excited for this friendship this summer.

That same Sunday night we experienced our team leader's church plant, which is in a nearby town called Hossegor. Hossegor is known for it's beautiful wave break and is the center of many surfing companies in Europe. This church plant consists of mostly young surfers, and I was able to connect with many of the teenagers there. Because this is such a new church, there are SO MANY needs and opportunities that our team will be able to jump in this summer. I'm even singing worship THIS SUNDAY, in English AND French, which though unnerving, absolutely excites my heart. In addition, each member on our team will have to preach a message and share their testimony.
We have connected well with the teenagers, many who come from a Catholic background, and have made plans to hang out and surf and fellowship with them this summer.

In addition, this week one of my teammates and I lived and worked at the Surf Hostel Biarritz. We will rotate two team members to do this every week!
Every morning we make a homemade breakfast for our guests and we offer good table service. People are always so surprised, and I love it and I love getting to love them in this way. I truly think I am coming to love hosting and the opportunity to refine the gift of hospitality. Getting to hang out with the guests during the morning and night has been so cool - I've met people from Ireland, Sweden, Britain, Canada, Poland, and Australia. I've loved each and every relationship.
Serving at this hostel is such a great opportunity for us, and we even had a guest come up to us while we were cleaning the kitchen and start a conversation on spiritual things. In the end he asked us to share with him what we believed about God! It was a great discussion.

































A highschooler from the church at Biarritz has also worked alongside us this week as we have served in the hostel and provided childcare and help for the staff family here. It has been a great opportunity for her to learn English and a great opportunity for us to love her in Christian fellowship, which is something she craves and doesn't have here. Her birthday was on Wednesday, and we made a cake for her in our apartment and then took her out to a great restaurant in Bidart, a nearby town, for dinner.
I ate the most amazing marinated mussels for an appetizer, the most amazing tuna with basquaise sauce as an main dish, and the most amazing strawberry tarte for dessert. The following pictures are of her birthday with us.

Blessings upon blessings have been poured upon us from the moment we got here. A couple from the Biarritz church is gone for the summer and have graciously offered their HUGE and BEAUTIFUL apartment to our team. We can see the beach and the Pyrenees from it, and I've had some amazing quiet times with this back drop.

In addition, I have been blessed by the amazing ministry opportunities here.

Tonight, I was able to host and organize a social for our hostel. We had a crepe bar (we made crepes and had ALL the toppings laid out) and then watched the football game. So many great conversations were had with our hostel guests. One guest even asked my teammate to share his testimony with her!
In addition, this Wednesday my teammate and I will get to sub-in/sit-in to English lessons held at the hostel/church's multipurpose room. This is such a great opportunity.
Additionally, one of the church members has invited me to her hiphop class (hello!) which she has enjoyed as a fun ministry with people.
And on top of that, our staff family has communicated to us the need for voice and dance teachers in Biarritz, and how that is something French families really love to put their kids in. The church's allpurpose room being an old ballet dance studio, they would love to have someone from the church use this space to teach lessons as a way to be more a part of the community.

Friends, I can not tell you how afraid I am to even dream...
(For those who don't know, I danced classical ballet for just over ten years and used to be a children's voice teacher in college.)
I'm not sure what to do about this and about my future, but all I can do right now is pray.

There has been no collision in culture and life here, for me. I feel as though I have just slipped in, my rhythm of life has aligned as if maybe I was always here.
It's truly beautiful and life-giving to my soul.

We are becoming friends with our boulanger, Philipe, and making friends in town and talking to people, though sometimes difficult with the language barrier, has come fairly easily. I speak French with people everyday, and I love it.

I am just ENJOYING life here and ministry just feels like such a natural outpouring. I desire God and I desire to share my life with others and be a part of their lives and their loves. It feels real and it feels good and it feels TRUE. Like THIS is how life is supposed to be lived.

Beautifully and wonderfully and free.

That being said, I have MANY prayer requesta, and if you've made it this far, I'd love for you to pray over them with me:

Please pray for:
- the Biarritz and Hossegor church plants
- christian friends for our new French friends in their lycees (high school)
- me, singing worship on Sunday at Hossegor, and our team's involvement with that church
- our hostel guests
- our long term team members

Thank you so much for being a part of my journey so far. I can't wait to share more of it with you.

Humbled by your love,
*Sheena

Thursday, June 10, 2010

T-minus 17hours. And I'm officially commissioned and trained.

Much has happened since my last update.

My roommate Jenna Bishop got married.
My best friend Sarah Tilley got home from Spain.
My subleaser Kayla moved in.
Dear friend Lauranne came home from Uganda.
My roommate Kay moved out.

And I left Orlando for orientation in West Palm Beach at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Life here has been just beautiful.
I've met all four of my teammates, and I love them all. It's insane how connected and overwhelmed with love I already feel with these people. They all get the gospel and are absolutely consumed with passion for God's grace and His word.
Sweet answers to prayer.

In addition, we've gone through cross-cultural missions training here at our orientation. And Pioneers has the best training ever, I'm sure.

Here's some of these seminars/things we done:
Why Missions? A Biblical Foundation
Overcoming Myths about Missions
Having A Good Attitude
Personality: Knowing Your MBTI and Team Dynamics
Cross-Cultural Stress and Dealing with Culture Shock
Prayer for the Nations
*wrote a team covenant
*individual prayer
*daily team devotionals
*daily team time
*daily worship

It's been phenomenal and I feel so served and fed. I hope the Edge staff are reading this, because they have been so amazing and such servants. I feel so prayed over and SO very prepared. Thank you.

It's been a blessing and an excitement to make friends with people and to see that we are going all over the world! We have teams being sent to Spain, Poland, Jordan, Afghanistan, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, India, Croatia, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and France of course....just to name a few. There are about 80 Edgers here for training, and then there's another training in the UK. About 100 people are being sent out this summer....Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow we all leave. We take a train (who knew Florida had them!) down to Miami, where we will catch our flight to London, then France.
Our flight leaves at 5pm, and I'm so excited.

In addition, I am so humbled and blessed by all my dear friends! I'm happy to report that...

I HAVE RAISED OVER 100% FOR MY TRIP.

Friends, I could not have done this without you. Thank you so very much for everything you have done to support me and for all your prayers.

We have spent some time looking at the hostel and at the church plant in preparation for our time in France - praise the LORD because it seems like the church is thriving.
Wow, friends, I'm so excited to partner with you this trip and share with you stories and prayer requests from our friends and our church over there.

THANK YOU again for all of your love and support.

avec tout mon affection,
*Sheena

Thursday, June 3, 2010

4 days to go, $400 left to raise, and I moved out...

God works everything out for the good of those who love Him and serve Him according to His purpose.

This truth has been my saving grace in life many times.
Oh what a GOOD God we have.

About a week ago I found out that I was able to get a subleaser for my room for the entire time I'm gone (and then some, so I will need a place to crash for two weeks in August!). Sweet blessings, thank you Jesus.
So I moved out of my room yesterday. It felt really liberating.

That said, I am now pretty much packed, although, with a 33lb weight limit...yeah I need to take more stuff out...

Anticipation is building, and everyday people just tell me how excited they are for me. I have been so moved and humbled by the generosity of those around.

My house church graciously sponsored me to go to the International Justice Mission benefit dinner this past week, where the President of IJM spoke on generosity.

He shared an interesting perspective that every single person who is living right now has, at one point, been solely dependent on the generosity of another. Curiously enough, this period of life where we relied on another's generosity, from birth till about 3, are the years that we actually end up forgetting.
But nonetheless, the truth remains that from the beginning, we were crafted to live, breathe, and survive in the arms of community.

Jesus let me never forget the sweet generosity that has been shown to me in this period of support raising. Thank you thank you for your support and prayers thus far. It is so very appreciated.

That being said, I do have $400 left to raise by Sunday, so if you feel so led to give and help decrease that number to zero, you can easily do through the link at the top of this blog, or here:
Most sincerely and humbly, thank you, dear friends and family.

WOW. I leave in four days.

And I'm so excited. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

12 Days to go, $700 left to raise... and I have international tickets.

Note: This picture is of me getting my train ticket in Barcelona to Bilbao. We took a picture because it was the easiest process of getting a ticket that we had the entire trip. Irony is, my lack of time management and Spanish communication skills made me miss the train. Which was loads of fun...

Anyways...

I received my international itinerary today.

It was kind of weird.
I just went to my Pioneers Edge website and there they were.
Tickets with my name on them.
Little slots of travel telling me a specific coordinate of space I will be departing from and arriving at within a specific space of time.

It's really happening.
I'm really going back.

God-willing, I do have 12 days, but I am preparing to walk through the door that has been placed in front of me.

And that door leads me to go from Miami, to London, to France. (and back again).

My current prayer to our sweet Jesus is: "What are others ways I can prepare?"

It's interesting though, because in everything, it feels like HE has prepared it all, and is just asking me to trust that He is faithful.

Such a sweet allusion can be found in me being given travel plans today.

Here's what I mean to say: Being given an itinerary is such a stark contrast to this past autumn, in which James and I spent countless hours upon hours researching flights, trains, busses, you name it, to get us from point A to point B. It was a lot of hard work (we traveled over 6 different countries!), and though I think we both really enjoyed the planning and though that added to the experience, it was really plain stressful sometimes.
Like, I cried a lot, poor guy.

But now, how sweet it is to just be given tickets with everything already planned out!

I feel so cared for!

Much like I'm given a ticket and a travel plan, a plan I didn't have to work for at all and a plan that I can just trust is good and was planned for my good, I can look at my life and realize that the Lord has given me my life and that He has a purpose and a plan for me and for my summer, and that His plan is good.

Oh what a sweet Lord.

Our guardian and guidance. Our planner and protector.

12 days. $700 to go.
And I have tickets.

Wow.