Friday, December 30, 2011

Work & Witness

We need help!!!! We are in a really need to fundraise and to have work teams come and help us this summer. If you are interested in helping us out, click on the project below to get more details. Or email me!
Copenhagen Work & Witness Project!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Season in The White House, part 2

It was the week before Christmas and all through the house everyone was stirring, but was as quiet as a mouse. There were books and laptops all over the tables and stress hung thick in the air. It was a week of exams and projects; tensions were high and coughing was loud. Everyone got sick, well except for me because I don't get sick very often (i take my vitamins). The last week before Christmas reminded me why I was happy I am no longer a student. And it also made me realize that as Americans we have some good drugs, and not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. But, I got to be the pharmacist handing out daytime and nitetime cold pills. Never thought I would be grateful my sister-n-law is willing to mail me cold pills. They did help everyone make it through their studying.

Little Christmas Eve (or what I call Christmas Eve Eve) brought the much needed break for everyone. This is my third Christmas away from home and I keep telling myself that it will get easier, but it never does. I think that there is something about Christmas that makes you long for traditions and childhood comforts. In Denmark there are three days of Christmas- Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and 2nd Day of Christmas. (I am beginning to think Americans are the weird ones that only celebrate 1 day).

Little Christmas Eve or as I have always affectionately called it- Christmas Eve Eve was our first day with a break. As a house we enjoyed a wonderful brunch together before everyone took off on their separate things. That evening I went to dinner at the Pastor's home. It was a nice "cozy" time where I got to watch the family get ready for Christmas.

Christmas Eve brought on the beginning of celebrations and for me the realization of another Christmas with different traditions and without any family. The homesickness hit hard on this day. But, God has blessed me with amazing housemates. I walked into a room where The Office was being enjoyed and they knew I was not ok. After be prompted to share I cried (of course because I cry A LOT) and my housemate decided that during these days of Christmas we would have an American Christmas. That calmed me some and we went on with our celebrations. I went to the service at church and enjoyed it and then went home to the Pastor's family for celebrations. It was another completely different experience! We ate an amazing dinner of turkey, stuffing, pork, potatoes, and rice almond porridge w/ cherry sauce for dessert. One of the competitions with the dessert is to be the one who finds the whole almond in their bowl. And I found it!!!! :) After dinner we got kicked out of the room while they lit the candles on the tree and filled it with presents. When we returned we held hands and sang different Christmas carols while walking around the tree. Afterwards we opened gifts and ate more candy!  It was a great time! I felt incredibly blessed to be a part of the family.

Christmas day is another family day. I was invited to lunch with the Pastor's family once again.We gathered and ate fish and liver pate on bread. Another new experience for me. It was really neat to see the whole family and watch the family interactions. Once again I was blessed to be welcomed as a part of such a wonderful open family. When I came home us girls got pizza and watched Harry Potter. And I got to skype with my whole family for a very long time! Plus I got a surprise call from 2 great friends in Poland! It turned out to be a good day!

On the 2nd day of Christmas we got to celebrate an American Christmas, well the best we could. I woke up and made American pancakes for breakfast for the whole house. And then I spent the day with my housemate and his girlfriend. They went out of their way to make sure I got to do whatever I would enjoy doing. We found the Raider game from Christmas Eve and they watched it with me! We even ate nachos! (I know not a Christmas food, but a football food!) Then I made dinner for everyone in the house, and a couple extra. We had honey/pineapple glazed ham, twice baked potatoes, and green bean casserole. We then watched a Muppet's Christmas Carrol and played In A Pickle. It was great. Truly like what would have happened if I was with my family.

Even though it is hard to be so far from home during this time, I am blessed to be with people who care about me and take me in. I would have never expected it. I really appreciate my housemate that pushed for me to do something like I would if I were home. To be able to share my traditions while I am learning so many new ones is a real blessing for me. It makes me feel even that much more like I can do this, what God has asked me to do. Because no matter how far away I get sent from all that is familiar, God always brings someone into my life that helps me find comfort in the middle of the cultural challenges.
reading the Christmas Story
the lit tree
i found the almond!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Season in The White House, part 1

The US holiday season kicked off on November 24th. In Danmark we started things a little sooner, but not by much. My first new experience was to go with a group from the church out to the forest to kick roots. I was told we were going to the forest and then going to a little tea house for kaffe and æbleskiver (coffee and these donuts like pastries). I agreed to go, not fully knowing what I was getting into and maybe I didn't actually believe we would be kicking out tree roots. But, that is we did. This is something a group from the church has been doing for years. They find old dead roots, pull them out of the ground, clean them decorate them and you have a great center piece.
The following week was Thanksgiving and even though this is an American, not Danish, holiday I decided I still wanted to celebrate it. And I have never had such a special Thanksgiving away from home. I am able to recognize the fact that I am an emotional person and I know that holidays are especially hard on me. So, one of my housemates very heroically took on the job to make sure that I was busy Thanksgiving morning to keep my mind off of things. We got on our bikes and he took me to the beach/harbor that is not too far from us. We walked around an old military fort down the beach and around the harbor. I loved the water and the waves and the great conversation.
After my morning at the beach I came home and started on my first Thanksgiving dinner in Danmark. I have a wonderful housemate who is an amazing cook and she jumped in and helped me make the perfect dinner. I mean even when I was too grossed out to touch the raw turkey and pull the gunk out she did it! She was my hero in the kitchen that day! We had about 11 people over- the pastor and his family, my housemates, and a couple of the teens. They asked me questions about my traditions and we talked, ate, and laughed A LOT! It was a very special time. And I really felt like I was with family, and I was... my Danish family!
After our Thanksgiving celebration it was time to let the preparations for Christmas begin. We spent a Saturday decorating our house to get into the Christmas spirit. As well as decorating the church juletræ (Christmas tree). We have been combining American and Danish juledekorationer (Christmas decorations). It's always very interesting to see what we consider to be typical and how it is different. I have been learning Jul (Christmas) everything! Now, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
We then spent another Saturday baking all kinds of goodies for Christmas! We filled the house with smells of gingerbread-men, cut-out cookies, and jew cookies. And had plenty of fun decorating them! There was lots of icing!!! :) Now, it's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas!
We still have a couple weeks before Christmas filled with a church party, youth party, and other things so there is still a lot more celebrating to be had. Stay tuned for part 2 of the Holiday Season in The White House....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Settling In

I have been settling in here in Greve, Danmark. I have been getting to know my housemates, the youth, the cafe group, and the city. It has been really good to be working with a church again. It is nice to have the support that was missing in Poland. I feel a lot more relaxed here. Also, I have been given a lot of freedom in ministry and the ability to be able to focus on people and not on tasks. It has been really nice getting back to that.

I am working with the youth ministry team. Well, living with them too. It is a fun idea, to have a house full of leaders where the teens are welcome to come and hang-out anytime. I have enjoyed the youth group meetings and times we have been together. I think we have got things heading in the right direction and I am excited to spend a year with them.

I am also working with another group in the church that is wanting to begin a coffee shop ministry. People are no longer actively seeking God in churches. From what I have learned there are not a lot of big churches, whether they are state churches or free churches here. There needs to be a new approach to reaching people. So, we are starting a coffee shop ministry. We are looking for locations in Copenhagen to begin the shop. The hope is to be able to have the shop open the beginning of September. We are still needing to fund-raise money to be able to purchase the shop and all of the items we need in it. We are also looking for Work and Witness teams to come and help us with the shop this summer. I am really excited to be helping with this new ministry.

I have started free Danish lessons at a church in Copenhagen. I am determined to learn some Danish. :)

Things are going really good. I am feeling very settled here and am loving the teams I am working with!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First Week in Denmark

I arrived in Copenhagen last Tuesday and moved in the white house, where I am living with 4 other people. It has been a good first week! My housemates have been doing a great job of taking me around and helping me get adjusted to a new place. Sunday was my first time with the church and everyone was so nice! Last night was the first youth group meeting, as well. It was a fun time. I am feeling very blessed to be here. These first couple weeks I am getting adjusted to being in Denmark and learning about the different ministries I can be involved in. I am feeling very excited about working here. There are a lot of different options and a lot more freedom to do ministry here. Plus, it is beautiful! So far things are going great! I can't wait to see what will be in store for me in Denmark!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A lot of Lasts or Movin On

This has been a hard weekend. It's my last weekend working as a volunteer in Krakow. Tuesday morning I will be moving to Denmark. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this move. It did not come about in the best way. But, I know that God is moving me to Denmark for a reason. I am excited to work with the Danish church. Everyone I have met from there have been wonderful! I think they will be a great group to minister with. But, even with the excitement of something new there is the pain of saying goodbye. And I hate moving. I hate being uprooted. I wonder why God called me to do mission work when it is so hard for me to move away from home. So, all that to say this has been a weekend of lasts. Last walks around the castle, the river, last church services, and last times with friends. When I first came to Poland in the summer of 2009, I never believed I would fall in love with Krakow. I saw Krakow for the first time in August of 2009 and I moved here a year and a half later. And I fell in love with the city and my Polish family here. Really, I am a die hard California and I love S. F., but Krakow is a very very close second. And I never thought I would find a second family. But, I have found a second family in the people I work and worship with here. So, I am going to miss Krakow and all of my friends. I am struggling right now with saying good-bye, wandering around the beautiful city and knowing it will be a very long time before I see it again. But, when God calls us somewhere new we must go. Life is an adventure and with that comes change and new places. So, I move forward to a new adventure. Good-bye Krakow, you will always be in my heart!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Euraisa Regional Confrence aka Chillin' in Turkey

I have been in Turkey the past week, enjoying the sun, water, and of course worship! We are staying in a beautiful resort in Antalya, Turkey. We have been swimming, sunning, eating, relaxing, and having fellowship with other Nazarene's from all over Europe and Western Asia. The Eurasia Regional Conference has been AMAZING! Each of the field coordinators reported about what work is being done. I have always felt a little bit of pride for being from a District that has so many different languages and cultures, but it is nothing compared to here. This region spans 2 continents. There are over 20 languages being spoken here. The field Poland is on has 7 different languages and none of them are similar to each other. It is amazing to worship here. To stand in the conference hall and see so many nationalities standing next to each other. People whose countries are fighting or have horrible pasts of hate worshiping together.  As I look around the room all I think is this is exactly what the kingdom of God is supposed to be. Hearing all of the different ministries, outreaches, and churches stories. Seeing people that have been affected by being children that were sponsored, changed from alabaster, the hospitals, the schools. To actually worship with the people who were changed by all the programs I read about in mission books and heard stories of when I was growing up. To be here and know God has called me to be a part of their legacy. To be a part of the future of this region. There is nothing like this. I can say for me General Assembly had no where near the impact of being here on the mission field worshiping in many different languages and celebrating our vast diversity. Being here makes it even more clear that I am exactly where God wants me to be. Last night we had an Ordination service. I was blessed to be able to participate in it as an Elder. There were 5 people ordained and 2 of them were nationals from different creative access countries. Here they were being Ordained, prayed over and sent back to nations where they are killed for being Christians. It was such a blessing to be a part of it.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Turkey. It has been a great time of inspiration and I am ready to get back and face my new adventures in Denmark!! :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

In The Middle Of Transitions

I have been back in Poland for a few weeks now. I have enjoyed getting to be around my Polish family and friends. I have been working some hours in the shop and have preached a couple Sundays. It has felt like coming home again. Krakow is as beautiful as ever. I am going to really miss this city and all my wonderful friends here.

I will soon be leaving my Polish home and getting adjusted to a new home. I am moving to Denmark in a couple weeks. The official move date is October 25th. I have been given a brief job description and I am excited to start work in Denmark. I will be working with the youth ministry team, mentoring, planning, teaching, and encouraging. I get to live in "the white house" with students from the church who are involved with the youth ministry. I will also be working with a team who are interested in starting a coffee shop ministry. I can't think of a better job for me!

Before I make that big move, I will be taking a little trip to Antalya, Turkey. I will be there for the Eurasia Regional Conference. I am excited to see and new country and gather with fellow missionaries, volunteers, and church leaders from all over Europe and Asia. It will be a great time of fellowship and rest.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Holiday in London

On my way to Poland I made a quick stop in London. It was great!!! I stayed with a friend who is now living in London. We decided to take the two days I had there and just explore and see what we could find. I loved London! It is like a city of it's own. I'm not sure how to describe it. At times felt like "yeah, I am back in Europe" and at other times I felt like I was in a major city in the U.S. The old buildings are beautiful!
We decided to get a great view of London and so we went on the London Eye. A few years ago I would have never stepped onto something that would take me so high up. But, all of this traveling has made me braver. So, I faced my slight fear of heights and enjoyed a beautiful view of the entire city and beyond.
One of the biggest highlights for me was when we scored tickets to The Phantom of the Opera! WOW!!! I have always enjoyed watching musicals, but have never been to a live one. It was amazing! I was lost in a fascinated world as I watched one of my favorite stories unfold on stage. A memory I will cherish forever.
The best part of the whole trip was just getting to relax and explore with a friend. We talked for hours as we wandered around the city. Just enjoying the city and each others company. It was a great time of relaxing and accepting all of the adventures a head of me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Traveling Again!

I'm headed out! Tomorrow I leave San Francisco and head to London. After a couple days in London I will hop a plane over to Krakow. I am returning to work with the Sweet Surrender ministry as a volunteer for another year. I have a lot of new adventures in front of me and some big changes! I am really excited to see where God is going to lead me. Let another year of adventure begin!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Forced Break or Time to Fundraise

So, tomorrow I am leaving Krakow. It's going to take me about 23 hours to travel from my flat in Krakow to my parent's house in Pittsburg. I am not ready for that.... I am not a fan of traveling, but it is a necessary evil.

My contract is up and so I must return to the States. However I know I am still called to Poland. So, I will spend my time in the States trying to fundraise. I still need raise $8,000 to be able to return to Poland for another year. I am hoping to be able to find churches to speak and share my story in.

Also, during this time I will be attempting to rest. It has been a crazy ride! But, I wouldn't trade this time in Poland for anything!!!

Please pray for me as I travel and raise funds. And if you are interested in helping me, please e-mail me. Thanks!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Volunteer Funds

I am in need of doing some fundraising! I will be coming to the States in July and will be there for a couple months. During that time I will be trying to fundraise to return to my job in Krakow. Right now I need to raise $8,000 to be able to stay for another year in Poland. I will be available to share my story in churches July 10th through September 4th. Also, I hear rumor of a 1/2 marathon and a golf tournament that will be done to help me raise funds as well. If you are able to help me out, please contact me! I would love to share what God has been doing in Poland!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Time is ticking away, some days are crazier than others. These past few months have been a challenge for me. I am learning more and more on how to run a business and it is not always fun for me. Luckily, I am surrounded by a great staff who make difficult days a lot easier to handle. One of my biggest accomplishments is I can balance our books for the shop....OK so that's really not that hard of a task.... but no one in my family would believe that I would do it, so here is my proof-

We have also been working on changing our menu from the winter to summer food. I am a bigger fan of our summer menu, especially our drinks.... But, I am not a fan of the extra work it has been for me. I have had to rewrite recipes, prep lists, and directions for both food and drinks. It has been a lot of work. But, I am confident that it will be good and the girls will be able to do it all!!!

But.... All work and no play is not a good thing. So, on the few nights I do have free, I am finding different things in the city to explore. This past Sunday we went on a hike in the hills outside of Krakow. It was beautiful. And then we heard the thunder and then saw lightening. All of a sudden the sky opened up and it started to pour on us. So, we ran back to the cars and headed home. But, it was a great hike while it lasted!

But, most of all the best thing to learn in all of this is to enjoy the moments of beauty that is all around me. And to do that all I have to do is go to my roof!

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Life is Full of DETOURS

We had 2 days off from the shop this week. My fellow volunteer and I decided that we didn't want to just sit around in Krakow. After all, everything was going to be closed anyways! So, we pulled out my book on central Europe and decided we should plan an adventure. And we had one!!

I never paid much attention to European geography until I moved here. I knew Slovakia was below us, but did not realize how close it actually was to us! So, we decided to go to Slovakia, see some castles and some mountains. I borrowed a car from a friend, he gave us a map and sent us on our way!
We left Monday morning and crossed the boarder in a couple hours. The drive was BEAUTIFUL!!! As soon as we left the city we were in rolling hills and eventually mountains. On and on we went until we got to Spis to see castle ruins. It was a huge castle from the Romanesque period. It was on a huge hill above a small town. We climbed the hill following the trail that is not the main trail.... We walked around and around the hill on a tiny path just wide enough for one step. And if I misstep, down the steep grassy hill I would roll! But, when we finally found out how to enter the castle, it was well worth the creative way to get up there. We explored all of the rooms and ruins before we tromped back down the hill.
We then continued on our drive around the mountains. We found a resort on the side of the mountain. This resort boasted mineral hot springs that could cure anything. So, we crashed there for the night and had a relaxing morning in the pools before heading out to explore some more of the mountain range.
While exploring mountain roads we stumbled upon some caves that we decided to explore! We hiked up the mountain side and wandered through a cave filled with tourists?! But, it was still really neat to see. Along with all of the cave juice that was splashed between the two of us!
After our hiking through the cave we decided it was about time to head back to Krakow. So, we took the long beautiful mountain roads back to the city. It was a great getaway. We didn't have much of a plan when we stated and we got to see all kinds of beautiful scenery. We also spent time getting lost on the roads and on the trails. We took a lot of detours and found a lot of beauty. Sometimes we need those extra twists and turns in life!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Different Kind of Easter & A Concert of Blessings

This was my first Easter out of the States. It was a very different experience. The more I am away from the States the more I think we try to commercialize every holiday. Easter is a big deal here, but not with bunnies and plastic eggs. Easter baskets are something you get before and you fill it with different things such as cheeses, breads, handmade goods, and flowers. Friday evening we had a Great Friday service in the shop. We combined with the Wesleyan church. It was a wonderful time.

Easter Saturday we went to the square. I was informed that this was the Polish thing to do. So, we took a walk down the river in the sunshine and experinced all of the booths on the square that were set up. I tried the fried mountain cheese with cranberry jam! We looked at all of the wonderful hand made items. And I bought a bunch of tulips to decorate our place with. A wonderful day in the sunshine on the square!

Easter Sunday we woke up to pouring rain!!! We dressed in our nice springy easter dresses and then got drenched on the way to church! We had our service with the Wesleyan church. It was a wonderful time. We sang choruses in Polish and listened to our volunteer preach and great traditional Easter sermon! Afterward we headed to the square and had a not so traditional Easter dinner. It was pouring rain on us the whole time! We ate at one of the booths set up. So, we had kielbasa, potatoes, and even a zampikanka! Great traditional Polish food, however not what I would normally eat for Easter dinner! But, us girls enjoyed our time together, even if we were soaking wet!!!

This past Friday night the shop was blessed with a beautiful concert! We have a gospel choir (DeocintriCity) that rehearses in our shop weekly. They had their first ever concert in our shop! Also, they were joined by our friend Kelz, who is a rap artist from the UK. There were at least 45 people in the shop that night, not counting the choir. We were very busy as people ordered food and drinks! But, when the concert started everyone sat in awe. They are a wonderful group and the presence of the Spirit filled the shop. The concert turned into a time of worship. It was AMAZING! Afterward they embarrassed me as they thanked us for opening our shop up to them every week. But, I felt like they Blessed us so much more with their performance. It was a wonderfully successful evening that was enjoyed by all!

Monday, April 11, 2011


What does that word really mean anyways??? Is it really that important?? Probably.... But that doesn't mean we always follow it! The shop has been operating (slowly) for the past couple weeks, even though we have not been given the "official" approval. We have been working through a disastrous mess and finding creative ways to provide our food and drinks with noise, dust, and chaos coming from the kitchen. But, all that chaos ended Thursday and I was left with the aftermath. We quickly called Sanitation and scheduled our "official" inspection. They said they could come Monday morning. So, Friday I went to work. I had to find the kitchen under all of the dust. I had to clean EVERYTHING, nothing was left unharmed by the construction of the "wall". How could one simple sliding wall be such a problem?? I then spent all of Saturday re-cleaning the entire bar area. And Sunday after church me and the other 3 volunteers spent the afternoon deep cleaning the rest of the shop. All this for a 30 minute visit from Sanitation Monday morning. And they only spent 5 of those minutes looking around the shop. They saw we put in the wall and then sat down and started the paper work process. 25 minutes later it was translated to me that we are now "officially" open! Three weeks of disaster and frustration for a 30 minute official visit. But, that is what we have to do, so we do it!

And now... Sweet Surrender Krakow is officially open for business! And here is our newly constructed wall that created such a headache in my life-