Monday, December 13, 2010

SixWest... its the best!

I have lived on the same floor my entire time at Moody. Over the years the floor has evolved and many have come and gone. Many have graduated and several have gotten married. Each girl in these photos has made a special impact in my life. Some i'm closer with than others, but each one has been a sister to me. One of the bittersweet but amazing things about Moody is that each student that graduates from here will end up somewhere around the world building God's kingdom. Six West has a wide variety of majors; elementary education, pre-counseling, urban ministry, music, varieties of international missions majors, theology, and so on. No matter where we all end up I think each of us will have a special place in our hearts for the girls on Six West; I know I will. I'm sad to leave, but these girls have been so encouraging to me and make me believe that I can do it! I love you all, and know that you're each in my prayers and I hope to stay in close contact with each one of you. You are all beautiful women inside and out.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lydia Children's Home

I have been going to the Lydia Children's Home just about every Thursday night during the school year for the past 2 1/2 years. My friend Gabby and I have remained consistent in leading church for the kids, and have had some great people from Moody with us through the past 3 years. Working with the kids at Lydia has not been an easy task. Every child and teen living at Lydia are wards of the state and have very difficult backgrounds. I have learned to love these kids, some have been there the whole time we have been attending, others have been placed in foster homes. Trying to teach a lesson or play a game with these kids is always an adventure. This year has been one of my favorite semesters going on Thursday nights. Scott joined us, and also another guy named Spencer. The four of us have gelled together so well, and have been able to each use our specific gifts to make church a better experience for the kids. Usually there are three churches that come one week of the month and help lead the night but this semester they have been very inconsistent, which has been nice for us. We have been able to lead the entire evening, starting with a game in the gym, then teaching the lesson which we have made very interactive. I have learned so much about my brothers and sister this semester from working with them at Lydia.

Lydia has had a special place on my heart since I was a small child. My church supports Lydia and they use to come give a yearly presentation during our service. I remember having my heart melt when they would talk about their programs the kids. In high school I wanted to work there for a summer. It didn't end up working out, and I ended up at Camp Kearney instead (which is another story all in itself). When I came to Moody I heard that PCMs were done at Lydia and I wanted to bad to serve there. God answered my prayer and it has been wonderful.

Because the children living at Lydia are wards of the state I am unable to post any pictures of them online. Instead i've posted pictures of the Moody group from the Christmas party we had last night for the kids.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Urban Missionary

What is a "MISSIONARY"?
I did a google search of images for missionaries and without much surprise almost every picture displayed was of people overseas. The past month or so I have been struggling when it comes to calling myself a missionary. When I was little and in AWANA we had to interview a missionary in order to complete our books. The only missionaries I knew of were people who were serving God in a foreign country. No one ever told me that you can be a missionary in the United States. A harsh reality that keeps me on my toes is this: Urban America is one of the least reached people groups in the world. Why is that? Honestly, I believe it is because as middle class Americans we're scared to go into the ghetto. In the ghetto parts of America there are shootings regularly, drug and alcohol use, abuse, and trash and glass all over the sidewalks. If I wouldn't have started working for Camp Kearney five years ago, I may never have experienced the ghetto. I grew up in a comfortable town, where I was loved on by my parents, friends and church. The first time I stepped into the South Side of Peoria and walked into the housing projects it was like I experienced culture shock. I didn't know people lived like that so close to my comfortable life. That first summer working with urban kids changed my life forever. God has led me into some pretty dangerous areas, but I have walked in there with confidence because I know that is where God is leading me. I want to call myself a MISSIONARY but satan keeps attacking me and telling me that I can't be a missionary unless I go overseas. No where in the Bible does it say GO OVER SEAS. Instead it commands us to go and make disciples to every tribe and nation. Why do we think that command excludes The United States of America? We are far from being a Christian nation, and that is not okay with me. I want to make a change by starting with one of the least reached people groups in the world. I never realized until recently that the unreached were literally at my fingertips. My first experiences of missions were overseas, Romania, Mexico, and the Philippines. The picture above is from the Philippines. God has given me a new mission: GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES IN DETROIT. There is no turning back, this is my command that God has given me. No fear, no hesitation.. HERE AM I, LORD, SEND ME!

Moody Bible Institute

I am facing a bittersweet reality right now... in a month from now I will graduate from college. I will be expected to leave Moody Bible Institute, and that is it; I'M DONE! I have started to get emotional about this. It seems silly, but I'm going to be really sad when it comes to leaving MBI. They have treated me well, I have been incredibly blessed to attend this school. As students we're reminded all the time how "lucky" we are to have been accepted, because for every student that is accepted to MBI there are 4 who wanted to be but were rejected. By far MBI is the best Christian college in the country, with such a biblical focus for ministry, I couldn't imagine going anywhere else. I was in chapel the other day and it was a special "DAY ONE" day, which is college visit day. I was looking around at all the hopeful high school students and realized I was just like them not to long ago. I visited MBI fall of my senior year of high school. Upon stepping foot on the campus I knew right away this was the school God was leading me to. I had no idea the amount of hoops I would have to jump through, and how many lessons of patience I would learn while I waited to be accepted. But in the end, here I sit at MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE about to graduate. It will be an enormous privilege to be a graduate of MBI. I have learned more than I ever could have dreamed, some things have stuck more than others though. Originally when I came to MBI the plan was to graduate and go overseas and work in an orphanage. Wow, have things changed... Not only has God closed the door for me to go overseas I am now being led to what is known as the "worst city in America" right now. Talk about culture shock compared to the cornfield county I grew up in. MBI has broadened by view on so many things.

I know i'm going to miss MBI more than I can even comprehend at this time. The community is something that can't be duplicated. 1700 students all studying to further the kingdom of God, all focused on the same goal. I think I might have taken the past 3 years for granted. But all in all I can't help but be eternally grateful. Thank you, Lord for this amazing experience. It wasn't always easy, but it was way worth it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The LORD has guided my steps...

A week ago the directors of LifeBuilder's came to Chicago to visit their son, and made time to have lunch with me and talk with me during the afternoon. To make a long story short....


This has been a prayer of mine basically since I arrived in Detroit. The first couple weeks I was there my heart still was at Camp Kearney was I longed to be there. But as those weeks passed my heart began to be moved by all the people I was interacting with on a daily basis. I began to become a little scared. I remember sitting in my apartment praying and wondering if this is where God was leading me after graduation. At the time that seemed like a crazy thought, and I doubted the idea for the better part of my time at LifeBuilders. As my final days approached and I became anxious about leaving and realized how much my heart was aching about leaving I began to wonder again... could this be it?

I called my Grandma while still in Detroit and talked about packing up and coming home and she said to me, " Now, don't you leave anything up there, like you think you're going back or something, because you're not!" Hearing those words I had such a weird feeling in my spirit that in fact I was going to return.

More information will come soon, I promise. But for now, please just be in prayer for me and for those living in the community around LifeBuilders. I believe completely that God has led me specifically to LifeBuilders for this new season of my life. It could be for a year, 3 years, 5 years, or longer. For now I will step out in faith as I anticipate my first official ministry position outside of college. God is good, and I feel his blessing upon my life.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Lately I have been trying to find JOY from any source that I can. I have been thinking lately about JOY and wondering if it is possible for a Christian to completely lose ALL JOY..? Even in my most depressed state I still can look to the cross and find JOY even if it is just a small ounce, I still find it. In the Bible we read in James 1:2-4
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

My life seems to be completely different than it was a year ago. Sometimes I find myself really missing that previous season of my life and often makes me lose my joy. Constantly I feel like people are leaving me and when I sense this I begin to hold onto that relationship for dear life. I have been doing this lately and instead of the relationships getting stronger I end up suffocating them and the light that once was so bright begins to dim even more quickly. I don't know where this derives from, this feeling of abandonment but it is strong in my mind and has been for many years. I have been learning that no relationship is promised tomorrow, except my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Life right now is HARD, and it is hard for me to say that out loud.. so i'll say it again- Life right now is HARD. My Dad's health is very uncertain, i've lost friendships that I thought were strong, I miss LifeBuilders in Detroit more & more each day, I'm graduating from college in 10 weeks with no promise of a job, and I'm praying about if God wants me to donate one of my kidneys to my Dad.

It is moments like this that I remember I am not a little girl anymore. Lately I have just wanted to lock myself in my room, curl up on my bed and cry. And i'll be honest, I have done this a few times the last couple of weeks. But then God whispers in my ear, that I can't hide from life, he nudges me to get out there and find JOY in the life he has given me. It is difficult but with God's strength I know I can tackle any trial that comes my way. I may not always respond like an adult, I may curl up on my bed and cry, but eventually I'll make my way back into life. My life is a blessing and I need to make every effort to be a blessing to other peoples lives.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Who is it?

Who is it that you truly do NOT like? We all have people in our lives that we simply do NOT enjoy spending time around or when we are around them we have negative view of them in our mind. I know I have people like that in my life. This is not something I am proud of because it is SIN. I am jealous of many people either because of their talents compared to mine, or because they have something that I don't or because they're close to a person that I wish I was closer with.

I was reminded today in chapel that instead of HATING these people silently we should instead PRAY for them. This is something that I need to do more regularly. I tried it today, it was NOT easy, because I am a SINNER and wanted nothing more than to be angry and judgmental toward this person. But instead the HOLY SPIRIT whispered in my ear and reminded me that God HATES my sin and by judging this person I was sinning.

So think about it... Who is that person or people that you simply can NOT stand to be around or that you're constantly jealous of? Next time instead of seeing them and being angry or jealous, PRAY FOR THEM! I know this is not a simple thing, but lets do it together. This MIGHT, just MAYBE change our relationship with that person or people in a positive way.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My mom

My mom is one of the strongest women I know. I always feel so encouraged by her strength and her wisdom. My mom has gone through some horrible things in her life, but she has chosen to keep her faith in the Lord strong through it all. Right now my mom is taking on a new role. She is full time mom, full time Grandma, full time wife and now full time nurse. She loves each of us so much and shows her love for us all the time. I know that she is scared about my dad's illness and worried about the future. She still is choosing to praise God through this very hard trial. I have learned so much from my mom over the years. Even though we did not always get along I knew that there was nothing I could ever do that would cause her to love me less. She has sacrificed so much for her daughters and made her family a top priority, always. One of my favorite memories of my mom is when she would write me cards and hide them in my luggage. Whenever I would go to camp or any place over night my mom would write a hard of encouragement for me and hide it in my bag. Even though I expected to find a card every time it still was exciting to find the card shoved into my suitcase. This is a tradition that I have now carried on and this summer I wrote special notes for all the girls I took to camp and hid the note in their bags. They were so excited, just like I was. I wish I could be a better encouragement for my Mom right now. It is hard being far away, but I always stand firm in knowing that God has me in the exact place that he wants me, and right now that is in Chicago to finish college.

Mom, if you're reading this; know that you are loved very much. We all are here to support you and give you strength when you feel like you have none left. Thank you for always supporting me and guiding me in my faith with Jesus Christ. You have been a huge inspiration for me, and I am ever so thankful. I love you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


My dad, always able to supply us with laughter. This is one of my favorite memories of my Dad, Halloween. When I was little and still needed someone to take my trick or treating my Dad was the one to go with me. He would wear is disgusting green pants, this orange sweatshirt and scary mask. He would take throughout our neighborhood, and then we would drive to houses of people from the church. He always ended up getting extra candy because everyone loved seeing Deano. Once I got old enough that I didn't need anyone to go with me or when I got to old to even go trick or treating at all we would sit at home and pass candy out. Dad is exactly like HIS DAD, Grandpa Chet. My Grandpa would keep a tally of every trick or treater and then save that tally sheet from year to year and compare numbers from every year. My dad now does that, and even though I think it is silly it is something that makes me smile.

Right now my Dad is sick. His kidneys are failing him, and his body is very weak. Even though i'm sad and scared, thinking about all the funny stories about my Dad brings me joy. Just about everyone that knows my dad has a story they can share about him. I know that he is loved by everyone that knows him, and that he is not alone, not even close.

Please be in continual prayer for my dad. I believe that God is the great physician, and he has the power to heal. My family and I are choosing to praise God through this storm, and your encouragement helps.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A new lesson from the past

The past week/week and a half have been a tremendous growing time for me. I have been taking the time to listen to sermons from the pastor who preaches at the young adults service I went to this summer while I was in Detroit. These sermons have really hit home in my heart. You see, about a year ago as my fourth summer at Camp Kearney was ending I felt the Lord speak a command to me. I heard him say, "BE SINGLE." At that time I was really on board with this command and ran full force into it. I didn't hear God tell me a time frame, just "BE SINGLE." But instead come the fall I developed a crush, like I always do, and pushed God's command to the back of my mind. I allowed myself to disobey God, and follow my fleshly desire. Obviously this "crush" didn't work out, because God was telling me, "BE SINGLE." So going into the summer I was going really strong, there was no one on my radar, I was actually content with my singleness. Well then came a curve ball. Without going into details, I again developed a crush. But needless to say, that also did not work out, because God had told me, "BE SINGLE." So coming into my last semester at Moody, I knew I needed to really work hard on this command that God has given me, which brings me to my current situation. I feel like I have been given a time frame for my singleness. I have always had a weird feeling that I would not end up dating or marrying a Moody guy, so I don't know why I kept trying. No matter where I end up come January, I know that it will be better for me to be single. God has told me that IF I go back to Detroit he wants me to "BE SINGLE." I believe he has given this command to me because HE knows how distracted I would be if I was in a relationship, and how hard it would be to have a long distance relationship. So now here I am, JUST ME. I actually feel really good about BEING SINGLE this time around. Hopefully in a few weeks or months I will be able to say the same thing. I know that in ministry I can be much more effective if I am SINGLE. For now this is what God has called me to, SINGLENESS. I pray for the strength, courage, and self control that I need to persevere through this season of life.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Hard to believe that my FINAL semester of college has finally arrived. It has been a long and sometimes hard road, but it has definitely been an adventurous road too. I started my Moody career in a single room, and now I will finish my Moody career in a single room. I really hate living alone, single rooms are not for me. But this semester i'm hoping to embrace it better than I did the first time. I also want to finish out very strong academically. I hope to get really good grades this semester and work hard. The girls on my floor and I have started a 60 day workout video serious, and we kicked it off tonight. It totally kicked our butts, but we can only get better in time. Coming back this semester was difficult. There are still so many uncertainties in my life right now. My Dad's health, my Grandma's health, my future come January, and other relationships with friends. Even though many of these uncertainties have come as a surprise to me and my family I was reminded the other night that none of these things were a surprise to God. He knows every single detail of my life, even the number of hairs on my head. WOW! That is an amazing God. So even though many of the circumstances that i'm being faced with have come as sudden or as a surprise God knew about them all along. I have seen how he has been faithful to me and my family throughout my whole life, and I am certain that he will continue to be faithful as I keep pursuing his love.

Friday, August 13, 2010

*Shooting stars....

It is no secret that I LOVE stars. Looking into a night that is sprinkled with stars is one of my favorite parts of God's beautiful creation. A few nights ago, after I had just left Detroit, I was feeling very sad about missing all the people and worried about my dad's health, and other relationships that are in total question. I was laying down in the grass just looking into the night sky and I was crying feeling totally alone. Suddenly right above my head I saw a shooting star go flying across the sky. I couldn't help but feel like that was God's way of telling me that EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY, and suddenly everything just seemed like it wasn't such a big deal.
Last night I was driving home from dropping friends off at their homes and I was praying to God and feeling similar to that night a few days ago. I was missing a lot of people, wondering about my future, and feeling overwhelmed with leaving home again. I noticed how amazing the stars were so I pulled off the road and parked on the road that leads up to Camp Kearney. I just got out of the car and stared up at the night sky and thanked God for his beautiful creation. Just as I was about to get into my car I looked up and a bright glow went streaming across the night sky. I believe that this was again a reminder from the Lord that EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY! I don't know what my future holds, in any aspect of my life. But God just keeps reminding me that worrying about all the things that I'm unsure about will not add a single day onto my life. So I need to give it all over the Lord and wait patiently on him. Now we all know this is so easier said than done, but i'm hoping that I try harder to let this happen in my life.

"Elizabeth, stop worrying and TRUST ME!"
Yes, Lord, I will wait on you, because I know you have everything under control...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Home :)

"My life matters... God is using me to impact peoples lives."

This pretty much sums up my summer. There were several times all summer when I would wonder if my life and my service was making any impact in peoples lives. It wasn't until I had to say all the goodbyes and saw how everyone reacted to my leaving that I started to see how God used me in their lives.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

There is no such thing as goodbye...

This is it, today is the day that I have been dreading all summer. I leave Detroit this morning. In about an hour the car will be all packed up and i'll say my final goodbyes and i'll drive out of the city. I feel better this morning than I did over the weekend. I have more peace and I feel ready. When it comes to leaving a place I usually get really antsy and end up leaving early or wanting to. I've had that feeling since Monday night. As much as I don't want to leave, I just want to get out of here and get past all the goodbyes, and see ya laters and everything else.

I'm very thankful for my two friends, Gabby and Scott. This morning Scott is coming to Detroit to help me move everything out of the apartment and then we'll get some breakfast before heading on to his house. I'm thankful because I know this will be a great distraction from the tears. If I was just getting in my car alone and driving home 7 hours it would be a very depressing drive for me. Gabby is then coming to meet us at Scott's house this afternoon and the three of us will spend the next 2 1/2 days together. They are my two best friends from Moody, so i'm very much looking forward to being with them after a long summer!

I talked with my two bosses about the possibility of coming back to work full time in January. They loved the idea and we're going to spend much time praying over it before coming to any conclusion. So I guess this is it, my last blog post from Detroit (at least for awhile). My next update will be from home in Canton! So excited to see my FAMILY and my CHURCH FAMILY and FRIENDS!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Friendship :)

Sunday my friend Scott came to visit LifeBuilders. Scott has worked at Camp Kearney all summer, bless his heart, and I've been able to stay connected to the camp through his presence there. Having another guest come was really encouraging, it helped keep my mind focused on the good things that have happened here instead of leaving. Everyone from the apartments hosted a farewell BBQ for me in the courtyard and gave me cards and presents. I felt very loved by all of them. At the end of the BBQ, Marilyn stood up and gave a "formal" thank you to me for being here all summer and for everything I have done. She then put me on the spot and asked me to speak and share with everyone something I learned or will take away from this summer. I couldnt even make it through my first sentence without bursting into tears. I was able to make it through "my speech" and let them all know how much they have encouraged me this summer and how much I have loved being apart of their community. To close the BBQ they all gathered around me and prayed for me. It was so precious because I felt love from their spirits. It was an incredible time, a moment from time that I will always remember. Hopefully I can speak on behalf of Scott when I say this, but I believe he left feeling encouraged just like Gabby did the week before. There is just something about God's presence in this city block that radiates God's love and salvation. Praise the Lord, for HE is good and his love endures FOREVER!

Still not ready... but God will carry me

As the day approaches for me to leave Detroit and to leave LifeBuilders I still can't help but feel overwhelmed with sadness. Every time I leave a place or do something I keep thinking "This is my last ......." Like last night I even cried when I was at the college church service because I didn't want it to be the last time I was there or the last time I saw a new friend that God blessed me with this summer. Yesterday at church I was sitting next to Kimberly (one of the young girls from the neighborhood) and during the last song she put her arm around me and clung to me and with tears in her eyes she said to me, "Miss Elizabeth, please don't leave me." We just stood there clinging to each other with tears streaming down our faces. It has been hard leaving ministries before, it was hard knowing I wouldnt be at Camp Kearney anymore, but this time it is different. I really feel like i'm leaving a big chunk of my heart here. The more I talk about leaving the more people keep saying that they believe I'm coming back. I never would have thought that God would call me to DETROIT, but right now I can't imagine being called anywhere else. God even seems to be giving MY MOM peace about it. Now that is a miracle. I still have no idea if I will ever step foot on the grounds of LifeBuilders but if God blesses me with that chance then I will take that GIANT LEAP OF FAITH and come running!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And so the process begins...

Today Larry (my boss) reminded the teens that I am leaving next Thursday. One girl, Sheila, asked me afterwards if she could talk to me in private. We went into the office, and as soon as I closed the door she started crying. She said that, "she didn't want me to leave, she is going to miss me so much. I have been so influential in her growth this summer, and she doesn't know what to do without me." Of course by this point we're both in tears, and she gives me this strong hug and just sobbed on my shoulder. I told her that I would do my very best to stay in touch with her and we would figure out ways to talk (she has no cell phone, no permanent address, and no access to internet). I told her that I would come back and visit, and she said " I sure hope God brings you back for good, because I need you here." WOW!
I am only writing all this out because it keeps replying in my mind. I know that next Thursday is going to be a very teary goodbye. I'm not emotionally ready for it. I wasn't ready for it today, either. The more I think about leaving the more I feel like i'm supposed to stay. Obviously I have to go back to Chicago and finish my last semester, but after that.... who knows! My grandma told me the other day on the phone, " Don't you leave anything up there when you come home, because you think you're going back...." The more I think about that, the more it feels like i'm just leaving for a short time, then i'll be back. Almost like this has become a second home... I have no idea what God will do in my life, or where he will take me. But right now, i'm feeling more and more pulled back to Detroit. This is so scary, because I came here with the idea that I would be here 9 weeks and that was it, but now...

God has given me so many visions for LifeBuilders, and when I envision the future of their ministry, i'm in that vision. Please pray for me!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Moody friends came to visit :)

My friend Gabby came to visit me this past weekend. It was awesome to have her come experience what i've been doing at LifeBuilders all summer. She was able to meet most of the kids, and she helped me run the Resale Shop on Saturday. We also were able to meet up with our friend Steve (who also is from Moody) and go to a Tigers game. The game was a little boring, just because the Tigers lost, and because it wasnt a CHICAGO CUBS game. But it still was a lot of fun being with great friends!

I'm pretty confident I can say that Gabby and I both were greatly encouraged by each others company and also the company of those that I live near and work with and under. Praise God for LifeBuilders and the work that is happening here.

A God encounter...

This morning I picked two girls up for Bible Study. Lately our Bible studies have been over breakfast at a local restaurant. Today we went to The Original Pancake House. We ordered, they choose blueberry pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes and I had fresh strawberry crepes (sorry to make your mouth water...). Once we ordered we pulled out our bibles and we read the story in John chapter 4 about the Samaritan woman. This story helped lead into so many other questions they had, and I was able to share in great detail who THE MESSIAH is and why HE came to the earth. It was a great study, most definitely. I am seeing the wheels turning in these girls heads as they are learning from God's word. I have seen great growth in their spiritual lives since i've been here.

So here is my God encounter for this morning... The waitress came to our table and asked if we needed anything else, and I told her we needed the bill. She looked at me with a big grin on her face and said "It has been taken care of." I looked at her with disbelief and surprisement, as she pointed behind us. She told us that the couple that had been sitting behind us had paid for our whole bill and said to tell us "God bless!". This was so cool for the girls to see. We have no idea who these people were, but God used them to encourage us this morning.
THEN... as I pulled up in front of the girls house, Cheronda said to me, "Miss Elizabeth, can we pray for the people that paid for our meal?" I said with tears in my eyes, yes that would be an excellent idea. So both the girls prayed and thanked God for the couple and asked God to bless them and encourage them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Camp CedarRidge

These are the nine girls that went to camp with me: (from left to right)
Monae, Danielle (Bunny), Jonay, Shyane, Remnique, Angel, Carmenlita, Angel and not pictured Dajunay.
This was during our campout, where we slept under the stars. This was definitely a new experience for most of the girls. They did very well.

Over all the week spent at CedarRidge was a success. It was a verrrry long week though. There two, sometimes three girls who struggled with major attitude problems, and gave me a lot of problems. It was easy to tell which girls are disciplined at home and which are NOT. When I would "get on their case" about not listening to instructions or about being disrespectful they were very quick to roll their eyes, ignore me, or snap back at me.
I was very happy to head home on Saturday. Even though I enjoyed the week I was completely exhausted. And I missed electricity... yes that is right, we had no electricity in our cabins. I also missed feeling clean.. the whole camp is a sand pit. This being the case, it was impossible to keep buildings clean. Needless to say, this camp is very rustic compared to the camps I have been apart of before.

I learned a lot during the week. I was able to spend a lot of time journaling. I read a lot from God's word, and was able to be corrected through the Holy Spirit. God definitely taught me PATIENCE! I also was taught more than patience, but a new way of WAITING ON GOD. There are so many things going on in my life that I just want to skip ahead to the future and see how it all turns out. Instead God showed me to just enjoy the present and he will reveal the future to me in HIS timing.

I also learned a new way of doing camp. This camp had many activities to offer, more than I have ever had offered to me at a camp. For example, the girls can choose classes to do throughout the week. These classes were: Archery, Mountain Biking, Horses, Canoeing, Rifle shooting, Drama, Swimming, Outdoor cooking, Outdoor survival skills, and the list goes on. I realized that money makes a huge difference in camping ministry. My dream is to open and run a camp someday, a camp designed specifically for urban kids. I would love for them to have these options, so I need to begin praying now for God to place people with these skills in my path.

God taught me a lot, and I was stretched a lot. The girls, overall, had a great time. They also learned a lot about the BIBLE and characters from the bible like Ester, David and JESUS! Praise God for a wonderful week :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Girls going to camp...

These are the names of the girls going to camp. My mom asked me for their names so she could pray for them, but I figured it would be good for more people to be praying for them. I've spent the night making a "care package" for each girl, and making cards for them. I made the cards because that is what my MOM always does for me. Ever since I was a little girl first going away to camp my mom has always written a card and stuck it in my suitcase for me to find once I get to camp or wherever I am going. I'm happy to continue the tradition.

  • Jonay
  • Shyane
  • Danielle (Bunny)
  • Dymond
  • Remnique
  • Dajunay
  • Monae
  • Carmenita
  • Angel
Please pray for their hearts to be open to the gospel and that they would not become homesick. Also pray for them to feel comfortable enough to open up to me about struggles they might be facing.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Thats right, I get to go to camp! I'm driving the van with 10 young girls to a camp about 3 hours north of here. The camp is called Cedar Ridge. They have made it possible for all of these girls to come for FREE! (normally the cost for each camper is $300) At first I wasn't going to be able to stay the week with them, which of course was disappointing for them and also for me, since I loooooove camp. But we just kept praying about it. Many of the girls have expressed that they are scared, and have said they will probably be homesick. Hearing that made me pray even more that I would be able to stay with them, to offer them a familiar face. That prayer was answered when the camp called and said they had a female staff back out at the last minute for the week that we will going. Since I have many, many years of camp experience they decided they would allow me to join their staff for the week. I'm very excited, i'll be in the cabin with the girls and will be able to help lead other program activities. I know how camp can have a positive influence on kids, (just look at me!) but I also know that one bad camp experience can ruin the experience for a child forever. So please pray that each girl would have a wonderful camp experience and would be open to the love of Jesus. My plan at camp is always by the end of the week each girl in my cabin will have heard the gospel clearly presented to her and have been shown love through Jesus Christ. I will be out of touch for the whole week, no internet, probably no cell phone signal. So just be patient and wait for me to return and I will hopefully be able to give you a positive report on CAMP!

much overdue...

I think that in order for this update to not be 10 pages long, I will try and do some bullet points... Lets see, what have I been doing the past 2 weeks..

  • Every morning I pick up 8 children and take them to a day camp. I have a VBS cd that I play every morning, and it is so precious to hear the children sing along with the worship songs. There is nothing like it :)
  • I have continued doing a Bible study with some teen girls. I have had up to 7 girls come, and then only 1 come. I have learned a lot from this experience. Urban ministry is so unique. I drive up to their house in the big van and I never know who is going to come out of the house ready for Bible Study, but I know there will be at least one.
  • There is one girl who has been incredibly faithful to coming to the Bible study. Her name is Cheronda. She is 16 and lives in a small home with 23 other people. She is so hungry for the word, and wants to learn more and more. I have loved getting to know her and we've been able to meet 1 on 1 a few times. She always has deep questions for me, and tells me she wants to learn more about Jesus. I gave her a Bible and she has treated it like it is her most prized possession.
  • I just mentioned above the household that has 23 people living in it. Well that number is probably an understatement. There are so many people who come and go from that house, some family members, others just "friends." I visit this house just about every day, and as soon as I pull up in the van kids just come pouring out of every window (there are no windows or screens) and the front door, which is hanging on by one hinge. Some of the kids are still infants, and they usually have no clothing, not even a diaper on. I always leave feeling so heartbroken. But I believe God is working in and around that house. Several of the kids attend our programs and my bible study. Its more than likely that the house is completely drug infested. That seems to be the only draw that would bring in all the people. Please be praying for this household and all the many people and children.
  • This week we launched our teen Workforce program. We have carefully selected 10 teens (14-18 yr olds), and they will "work" for us for 5 weeks and at the end get paid $450. We are doing some incredible things with this group. Several field trips to local businesses, and museums, and fun days. They will visit a dentist office, doctors office, cabnit making shop, and many other great places. This is hopefully going to widen their perspective about their futures. We're also doing an intense Bible study through the Gospel of John. So far its been great, but pray for their attitudes, since some dont have a great work ethic, some of what we're doing is challenging for them.
Well I think that is pretty good update. I just got a call from a neighbor who needs a ride to the bank.. so off I go. More updates coming soon. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I have been incredibly humbled the past few days. Let me just tell you a few examples...

1) I keep meeting people that know Marilyn and Larry (the head people of LifeBuilders) and they tell me about how Marilyn and Larry just talk so highly of me. They continue to tell me all the great things that are said about me. It brings me tears just to think about the blessing it is to be used the way I am.

2) I have gone 2 weeks in a row to a young adults service at a big suburban church. I have been going with a guy named Matt and he is the only person I know there. Now if you know me, you know how social I am and how I rely a lot on my friends and family for my contentment and happiness. Being in a crowd of 300+ people knowing only 1 person, it becomes lonely very quickly. I'm used to being the one who runs all over greeting people and saying hi to everyone, instead I've been standing quietly waiting to be introduced to his friends. Its a weird feeling, being completely dependent on someone else to meet people.

3) When I am introduced to people at this church, Matt several times would say "she's a pretty big deal" or something like that. Everyone seems to be so impressed that i'm living where I am and that I am doing urban ministry. For me its just life, no second thoughts about it. But it is a good feeling to know that people are impressed with my "way of life." That is what brings the humbleness to my spirit. As soon as I thought, wow "I'm a pretty big deal!"God was like, "Elizabeth, i'm the big deal...never forget that!"

4) I stumbled upon a friend's blog today (Alton's). He is using his blog as a prayer list. Whenever he updates he updates with prayer requests for himself and others. At the bottom of his page he has a list of MISSIONARIES to pray for. My name is listed in that list. When I saw that it brought tears to my eyes. Since I was about 16, I felt God calling me into MISSIONS. Since then God has narrowed my path, ALOT and now i'm pursuing MISSIONS, state-side. It's an honor to be listed as a missionary on Alton's prayer list.

These are just some of the examples from the past week or so. I'm sure there will be many more ways God will humble me. I know I sure need it.

Hope and Faith combined!

Hope Community and Faith Church joined together for the first time on Sunday. They held their services outside in the middle of the street. The service had a lot of worship and "charge" given by both pastors to their congregations. Many people came forward to accept Christ, and God's name was definitely lifted high. I picked up 9 kids in the van, the service got a little long for them. It was close to 2 hours, but I was proud of them, they hung in there. I bought them pizza afterwards to "reward" them. The guy, Matt, that I have been going to the young adults service with came along too. I'm sure this was a great experience for him, the kids started to get rowdy and were fighting with each other on the way home. It was nice to have someone close to my own age come with. I love being with the kids and teens, but its always good to have a peer around too.


The past three years God has been teaching me the importance of consistency in people's lives. I started to learn this lesson when God kept taking me back to Camp Kearney. Each summer my flesh wanted to move on to a different camp, to get out a little further away from home. But God kept taking me back, He helped me realize the returning campers needed to see a familiar face. I have also tried to keep consistency in other lives, this is why I try to stay in close contact with the teens from Canton; like Amy Bash and Bridgid O'Neill. This is a lesson that hasn't been easy for me. I was faced with a reality check this past school year. I was blessed to go to the Philippines with Moody in 2009 and planned on returning in 2010. But God closed that door. I kept hearing God say I wasnt meant to go back, because I couldn't provide the consistency needed in the peoples lives. Now that i'm in Detroit, I'm beginning to wonder about the future. I'm been struggling with the fact that God might keep me in Detroit long term. When I graduate in January He might bring me back. It all goes back to the consistency i've been learning. In urban culture and urban ministry trust doesn't come easy. I have been blessed beyond belief here, because so many people have opened their lives to me. That is not normally how it happens, it takes much more time than 3 weeks. I want to honor that trust. So I have begun praying about whether or not God really wants to bring me back here. It is very scary for me to think about. I would hate to be so far from my family, friends and church family. But if it is God's will, I can't step back and ask questions. So pray with me, will you? Pray that I would seek God's plan and purpose for my future, and not my own fleshly wants and desires. I know that where ever God takes me I will be blessed, I just need to keep this option open.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Being here at LifeBuilder's I have experienced so much variety when it comes to ministry, specifically urban ministry. I have literally been apart of anything and everything you could imagine. I have attended meetings about getting donations, I have attended planning meeting for events. I have helped with a day camp, (that was very unorganized, by the way), helped with VBS, led bible studies with teen girls, and driven the big van all over Detroit. I have been in contact with parents, and gotten to go into homes where the children are living. It's been an adventure, but I am exhausted. I have been stretched so much already. I'm definitely not living in the "comfort zone" of life anymore. I'm glad though, because in order to see growth I need to step outside of my "comfort zone." I praise God for all of these opportunities. He knew exactly what he was doing when he brought me to Detroit. If I was at a camp which I originally wanted to be my internship, I would not be experiencing all of these different aspects of ministry. Every day and every new experience I believe is preparing me for my future. Who knows, maybe God will bring me back to Detroit in January after I graduate. I know now that I can't put God in a box, and that I need to open to the idea of returning to Detroit. All in God's timing and HIS will.


There is a church from the suburbs that has been doing a VBS at LifeBuildersfor 3 years. This church went above and beyond anything I could have dreamed of. They created an entire ship deck in the big meeting room, and totally followed the theme "High Seas Adventure" to aT. It was amazing. (Their ship deck definitely put ours to shame, ladies of 6W, lol) It was great having them come serve along side us, and put on this amazing program. It was so interesting having a group of suburbanites come here though. They would arrive and park their cars across the street at the school and have someone sit there "guarding" them the entire time. Theykept asking me if I felt unsafe living here, and so on. I enjoyed interacting with other believers, but was starting to feel a little annoyed. Sometimes, it was almost like they were here out of pity for the kids. But they showed them love and compassion and that is what these kids need. Over all it was a great time, and the gospelmessage was proclaimed!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let us not forget about what God has provided for us...

Yesterday in church God reminded me that I need to stop focusing so much on the needs of the family down the street that we're trying hard to minister to. Instead, He pointed out to me how this family has a home, shelter over their heads. I need to rejoice over that, because so many are homeless and don't have a place to call home. Praise God for this reminder, it has changed my whole outlook on ministry right now.

Culture Shock!

Last night I went to a huge mega church in a suburb called Troy. I was going to a young adults service, with a guy who has volunteered here at LifeBuilders a few times. We get to the church and it is seriously massive in size. We walk in and the music is blaring, and its pitch black. There were probably 300 people there. Not what I was expecting at all. I guess I must have missed the part of the conversation when he told me there were a few hundred people that attended this service. It was a great service though. We sang for about an hour, which I loved. The message was good, and I hate to sound like a Bible student snob, but it was just kinda surface level. Its hard being a Bible college student to go into a group that is mixed on spiritual maturity like that. But over all I had a good time. I literally felt like I was experiencing culture shock though. You see, where I'm living in Detroit is very poverty stricken, and this area was very very rich. I almost felt uncomfortable being there, because I am so comfortable in the poor neighborhoods. I was able to meet several people, and a few were really friendly and said they would look for me next week. I'm still praying about finding a few people to 'connect' with. I'm not sure if God will bless me with that, and i'm still trying to figure that out. For now I will hopefully continue going to this Sunday night service and see where God leads me.

Camp Kearney.. such a legacy!

2006 2007

Camp Kearney.. such a rich history. Lately, the past few days God has been reminding me of how I have gotten to where I am today. He has brought names to my mind from all these past years at Camp Kearney, and I believe it is because I am to lift them in prayer. Many of the staff from these previous summers I have no seen or talked to in years, but they are all part of my history. I know some have fallen away, while others are still running the race with great perseverance; Praise God. Many relationships from each summer are still going strong, and I love it when we can come together and share what God is doing in our lives NOW. As most of you know it has been hard for me not being there this summer. But God has blessed me with a friend from Moody who is working there and gives me all the inside scoop information each weekend. Thanks, Scott. I hope that maybe some day, in Heaven we can all have a huge Camp Kearney reunion. How precious would that be :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tigers Game

Today we took 25 teens to the Detroit Tigers game. Now it wasn't a CUBS game, but it still was fun. I was amazing by the stadium, it had a ferris wheel, a mayrygoround many other great attractions. I found it so interesting how many of teens mentioned how they had never been to that part of the Detroit before (the downtown), or if they had it hadnt been for years. Traveling outside of their zipcode or even their neighborhood is so foreign to them. I loved being able to help expose them to what else the world has to offer. I got to drive the BIG van in heavy traffic today with 10 kids yelling and screaming in the back. God certainly is watching out for us, haha. Here are some pictures of the kids :)


LifeBuilders had a BBQ Wednesday night. We had close to fifty people come. We had fellowship during the meal and then spent time worshipping God together. We ended the night by hearing from God's word. Sister Sheila brought a night of revival to all hearts.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Before leaving Moody for the summer we were asked to come up with GOALS for our internship. We had to have 3 spiritual goals and 3 personal goals. One of my personal goals was to read 3-4 books on Urban Ministry. Now if you know me very well, you know that reading is not my favorite past time, however; when thinking/praying about what my goals should be I felt the Lord laying this goal on my heart. So with all that being said, I have chosen my first book for the summer. I started reading " A heart for the City" by John Fuder. The author is a professor at Moody in the Grad department. The book focuses mainly on ministry in Chicago, but also gives a broad scope of Urban Ministry. I was given the day "off" today, which in reality is never truly a day off when you live in the neighborhood where you're ministering. I was awakened early this morning, (early being 8:30) to a phone call that someone needed in the building next door to start doing lawn work. Well this youth who was doing lawn work was 15 minutes late and then needed someone from the building just about every half hour. I was in my apartment and would get a text from him saying he needed something else, so I would rush over to him and let him back in. Needless to say this morning I wasnt really off-duty. This young man lives down the street in a small home that occupies close to 15 people. There is hardly ever enough food for the kids and they wear the same clothes for a week. I could tell today that Kevin was hungry, but that didnt stop him from working hard. I felt the Lord nudge me to make him a sandwich and give him a piece of fruit. I made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and gave him a banana. He looked at me like he had just won the lottery. I then proceeded to go to a coffee shop and read for the afternoon.. yes Mom, you read that right- TO READ! I wrote down quotes from the pages I read, which I might share later. Right now, as I sit and write this I look out my front window and see two of my neighbors sitting outside smoking. Both of these women are ex-crack addicts turned Christians. They both LOVE the Lord but still struggle with addiction. I dont have to go far to find people who need encouragement or Christ's love- they are right outside my window. I praise God for that.

Who are the people in your neighborhood who don't know the Lord or who have turned away from him. Seek them out and offer then Christ's love and share the GOSPEL with them. We live in a hungry world. You may not see it from the outside, but people are craving God on the inside. Be that light in your neighborhood, be the salt and light that Matthew talks about in his 5th chapter. We're all called to this command, not just missionaries or people in "full-time minsitry"- EVERYONE, including YOU!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Answered prayer... maybe.

One of the volunteers that came to the homeless shelter tonight was a young man who said he was 24. After talking for a few minutes about how i'm new to the city, he told me about the YOUNG ADULTS GROUP that he attends at his church. He gave me a flyer for it and invited me to go with him. One of my prayers for my time in Detroit is that I would be able to meet and connect with people my age. I know that I need to be involved in the lives of the teens and people in the neighborhood, but I also know for myself that I need friends to connect with to. Hopefully this will work out and i'll be able to attend and meet people. I'm excited for this opportunity, we'll see where the Lord takes it.

God is everywhere!

Tonight was a neat experience. LifeBuilders takes a group of volunteers each Wednesday night to a homeless shelter where they pass our bagged meals (sandwich, popcorn, 'candy' and a juice box). Tonight I got off the bus and was talking to a man on the street who told me he had just gotten out of prison TODAY! Talk about a little nerve-racking. I asked him if he KNEW Jesus and what he thought that meant. He told me that he wanted to find a church. I told him about the church we attend here and couldnt remember the cross street of its location. He started 'making fun of me' because I didnt know where my own church was at. I explained to him how I just moved here and such, and he gave me a WEIRD LOOK and said, "Girl why you be comin to Detroit, its like a war zone up in here." He told me about how when he went to prison 10 years ago the city was beautiful and he was proud to call DETROIT his HOME. But today when he walked out of prison he said to himself, " Dang, who came and bombed us?!" This just goes to show what change has happened in Detroit in just a few short years. I'm praying that this man will be able to come to Hope Community Church and will begin to grow in his relationship with Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tonight I'm missing people. There is such a fine line that is truly bitter sweet. I know that I am exactly where God wants me for this exact moment in time. He has guided my steps to this city and shown me direction. But yet I still struggle leaving PEOPLE behind. This stage of my life is so unique. I have a presence in so many places. Canton, Chicago @ Moody, and now Detroit. I have connections with people all over the world. People in Romania, the Philippines, Central Illinois, all my friends from Moody who are now spread throughout the world this summer, all those who I have worked with at Camp Kearney and still continue relationships with. All these people I love so deeply, yet for God's purpose I am not able to be in community with them at this point in time. I have to continue to TRUST God in all circumstances, because I wish all the time that I could be in 10 places at once, but unfortunately that is not possible. So for now I sit in Detroit, after a long day of connecting with neighbors and attending meetings and bible studies, and I miss those people far away that I love so much. "Lord Jesus touch my heart tonight, make my joy complete in you!"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A new way of doing "church"

Today I attended HOPE COMMUNITY CHURCH. This is the church that I will be attending all summer with the people who run LifeBuilders. They had told me ahead of time that this church was different than your typical church, but I had heard that before so I didnt think much of it. I was taken back by this church. From the very first step in the door people surrounded me welcoming me and telling me they had been anticipating my arrival. We walked into the sanctuary and sat down. They explained to me that rarely does the service start on time, that was true today. At about 10:10 they began worship. It made me think about how other churches are so focused on time that often times I sense we are putting God in a box and saying he only has this amount of time and then thats it we're cutting him off. How crazy does that sound, but yet its what we do all the time. Once singing was finished the pastor came forward and held a stack of small pieces of paper that had prayer requests written on them. He took the time to read each one and acknowledged the people if they were present and then asked who would be willing to pray for this request. This took probably close to 20 minutes. THEN they actually took the time to pray in small groups for these requests. People came forward and announced ministry opportunities for the summer. I was introduced and everyone gave a wonderful warm welcome. Finally when the pastor got up to preach it was already 11:20, and he was not short winded. People would raise their hand and interrupt him to help make his point more clear and I just see how the whole body was being represented in that church. After the pastor was done with his message he then had questions for his people and we were asked to break into small groups and discuss how we can apply his message into the life of the church and in our own lives. I have never had that happen in our church, that I can remember. I was very impressed. I felt God moving. THEN the service still wasnt over. We took communion. I was so amazing to see all the people flooding toward the front of the church to take of the body and drink of the blood. The church is so diverse. Not only by race, but by age, income, gender everything. It was so cool. I felt overwhelmed and felt even more how God has brought me here to DETROIT to make an impact. The church has asked me to help with their day camp and I have been given permission by LifeBuilders to do so. I will take a bunch of our kids from our neighborhood to the church and help run the program. I am so excited for this opportunity. God is blowing me away by HIS body of believers in Detroit. Praise God!

Friday, June 4, 2010

I have used Xanga for many years, and have poured my heart out in many of the posts on there. I figured since I'm starting this new internship I should have a place to share my adventures with all of you. Xanga has become more of a personal place for me, so this will be more public. I Have copy and pasted these first 2 posts from my xanga, so ignore the date. The first one was written last week after I had dropped my friend Scott off at Camp Kearney, and the other was written tonight after my first full day in Detroit.
I'm excited for you to join me as I begin working and serving God's people in Detroit. This internship has only been possible because of all of you. You all have prayed so much for me over the years and supported me emotionally, spiritually and financially. This blog is to help you all feel apart of what is happening in Detroit at LifeBuilders. Follow me, won't you?!
I've arrived in Detroit. I guess now it should start to feel real, but still feels like a dream. I havent started much of my internship duties yet. They said to take the weekend and let it all soak in and become familiar with everything. Come Monday thats when it all starts. I'm excited because I know that i'm going to be expected to work hard and I know that I can do it. I'm going to be included in meetings and such which will be interesting, I like stuff like that; planning and organizing. I like to be the behind the scenes person, but i'm also good at being the up front person. I still have a lot of questions and i'm still going to be learning the ropes for a few weeks i'm sure. But it feels good to actually be here; in the neighborhood and in my apartment. God has blessed me so much with LifeBuilders already and I just got here. The directors, Marilyn and Larry have treated me just like one of their very own. They renovated this apartment for me and it is beautiful. They are going to help me pay for gas and groceries, which is an unexpected blessing. Praise God for the small things. I'm still missing being at Camp Kearney, but I know once things begin to pick up around here that feeling will begin to fade. I'm so excited to take this adventure, and even more excited to know that God is with me every step of the way!

a little scared...

Its time to move on. The past 4 summers have been completely planned out for me. I knew exactly what to expect and exactly what my job title and position were. That is no longer the case. This week has been a hard week, its been a dose of reality... my days at Camp Kearney are over. I want nothing more than to be at camp right now helping run orientation. Thats what I love to do and i'm good at it. I'm COMFORTABLE there! But God has decided that i'm not going to be comfortable this summer. He is taking me to the big, scary, and dangerous city of Detroit. Of all the cities in the country, DETROIT... really?! I have seen doors open and experienced blessings beyond belief, but i'm still scared. I'm stepping into the unknown. I know no one in Detroit. The only other time in my life where I took a step like this was when I left the comfortable FAITH BIBLE CAMP and walked into CAMP KEARNEY. I think i'm scared of taking this new step because i've seen how when I have taken new steps in the past God closes doors on places that I love. I'm not ready for more doors to be closed. What if I fall in love with the city of Detroit and I realize God wants to keep me there long term. What then?! Will I have to say goodbye to Camp Kearney like I did Faith Bible Camp and say hello to LifeBuilders? I am confident that I am following God's will, and that is the only thing that is bringing me peace. Next week I will drive out of central Illinois and enter into a city that is foreign to me. Yes I am scared, but even more I am excited. Who knew that a simple girl who grew up in a small town in Illinois would move to Detroit hoping to make a eternal impact. I am that girl, and I am moving to a new mission field. I will be extremely UN-comfortable for the first few weeks i'm sure, but by August first there will be tears in my eyes as I leave and head back to Moody. Only GOD knows my future, and for now I just have to walk forward... no looking back!