Been a long time coming..

Hey all!

I haven’t blogged in so long…and SO much has been happening during the summer & throughout this fall semester! This Campus Ministry missionary experience has been interesting to say the least. And as it’s starting to come to a close (this spring is my final semester), I’m beginning to struggle with feelings of sadness, feeling like I’m finally getting close to my fellow missionaries (here & all over), and life in Missouri is becoming a part of me. It’s definitely becoming a struggle as the reality of how little time left is hitting me.. I just hope that I can make a difference to someone before I have to go.

There’s so much that God has been doing in me personally, and showing me every single day. Some days have been amazing, some days I finally feel like I’m connecting with the community and students. Some days my insecurities consume me beyond belief and I feel like a complete failure. And some days I want nothing more than to go back to my old life with familiar places & people. Back to where things felt safe, and where I didn’t have to face myself truthfully or be faced with the realities that people see God and connect with Him in different ways than I do. But at the end of the day, I thank God for this experience and everything it’s taught me and is continuing to teach me. I thank God for using these semesters in Campus Ministry to stretch me beyond what I even thought was possible for me. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through this, but I did and I am 🙂 I’m excited to see all the wonderful things God is going to do in these last 8 months of my missionary service…

I guess what I want everyone to take away from this is to just be open to what God wants to do in your life. When I first signed up for this Generation Transformation missionary program, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I had no clue what to expect, I went into this with my eyes and heart open, expecting amazing things. But what I got was way above & beyond what I ever could have thought up myself. It was hard. I’ve cried a lot, wanted to leave, didn’t understand why I was even here, dealt with confusion, struggling with insecurities, being away from home, being forced to embrace this new life and the new people around me. But it’s also been eye-opening. I’ve seen things in myself that I really don’t think I would’ve ever seen had I stayed home. I’ve seen strength in myself, I’ve seen character flaws that I’ve ignored or was ignorant of, I’ve seen fears slowly dissolving, I’ve seen my eyes open to differing perspectives and I’ve gained understanding and more of a heart on things that I would have shut down on before. And I’ve seen God in ways I never have before. I’ve experienced Him in a more real way than I ever have before. I still struggle of course. Some days are frustrating still. Some days I struggle with my faith and understanding God for who He really is. My theology may be a little off at times lol, but I wouldn’t trade my journey in life for anything. I’m blessed, and my life is blessed, in spite of the depressing, soul-crushing lows, the painful or enlightening revelations, or the exhilarating highs.

I’m looking forward to the future with open eyes & an open heart once again:-)

God bless.

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Seeing God in Everything.

September 17, 2013

“He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.” (1 Samuel 3:18)

Light-in-darkness

Summary: This is an excerpt from my devotional book entitled, “Streams in the Desert: For Graduates” by L. B. Cowman. Yesterday’s devotional & poem was about seeing God in everything, in spite of what is happening around us. If we can look for and find God in the midst of our daily lives and trials, then God’s presence can envelope every area of our lives, God will give us peace & joy in Him, and we can be a light for Christ in every circumstance. 🙂

“Give me a new idea,” I said,
While thinking on a sleepless bed;
“A new idea that’ll bring to earth
A balm for souls of priceless worth;
That’ll give men thoughts of things above,
And teach them how to serve and love,
That’ll banish every selfish thought,
And rid men of the sins they’ve fought.”

The new thought came, just how, I’ll tell:
‘Twas when on bended knee I fell,
And sought from HIM who knows full well
That way our sorrow to expel.
SEE GOD IN ALL THINGS, great and small,
And give HIM praise whate’er befall,
In life or death, in pain or woe,
See God, and overcome your foe.

I saw HIM in the morning light,
HE made the day shine clear and bright;
I saw HIM in the noontide hour,
And gained from HIM refreshing shower.
At evening, when worn and sad,
HE gave me help, and made me glad.
At midnight, when on tossing bed
My weary soul to sleep HE led.

I saw HIM when great losses came,
And found HE loved me just the same.
When heavy loads I had to bear,
I found HE lightened every care.
By sickness, sorrow, sore distress,
HE calmed my mind and gave me rest.
HE’S filled my heart with joyous praise
Since I gave HIM the upward gaze.

‘Twas new to me, yet old to some,
This thought that to me has become
A revelation of the way
We all should live throughout the day;
For as each day unfolds its light,
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.
Life will, indeed, a blessing bring,
If we SEE GOD IN EVERYTHING.

–A. E. Finn

Brand New Me

There’s a song from Alicia Keys that I just watched her perform on tv, entitled “Brand New Me”. The song is basically about how she goes from being timid, a doormat, and afraid of people to eventually finding confidence, boldness, and love for herself & who she is. I think it’s an amazing song and it really speaks to me, because I’m going through that process right now, of truly finding myself, loving me, & embracing who I am fully.

When I first got to Missouri, I was really excited about this new opportunity and all the wonderful people I was going to meet. But once I actually started to meet these people, I began to realize how scary it was. Scared of their faces, scared of their reactions, scared of their potential thoughts/opinons and whether they liked me or not. After about a week of this, I became frustrated and decided enough was enough. I began to reflect on why I’m here in the first place… which is to serve God through serving the students at the college. But how can I do that when I’m constantly afraid of people and their opinions of me? Constantly worrying what they are thinking? I needed to let it go.

I decided to talk with a friend, and she shared a short story with me about how she learned to let go of her fear of people in spite of everything she was going through. Her testimony really inspired & encouraged me. After that brief conversation, strangely, I found myself having more confidence and expressing myself more freely. Two simple thoughts also came into my mind shortly after, that I truly believe came from God…

“Why be afraid of someone’s thoughts when you don’t actually know what they are thinking?”

“Why are you afraid of something you can’t even see?”

And for me, that was the moment of realization: That people’s thoughts aren’t like message bubbles floating above their heads lol. I don’t truly know what anyone else is thinking. They may look intimidating or like they’re thinking a certain thing about you, but you never really know. And no one can tell what I’m thinking either. So why am I so afraid of something I can’t even see?

Since that moment of inspiration, I’ve been a lot more open about myself and people have been in turn more open with me. And I’m finding that people actually enjoy my company and look forward to what I have to say. I thank God for starting me on this journey to become a “BRAND NEW ME” 🙂

ALICIA KEYS – BRAND NEW ME
It’s been a while, I’m not who I was before
You look surprised; your words don’t burn me anymore
Been meaning to tell you, but I guess it’s clear to see
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
Can’t be bad, I found a brand new kind of free

Careful with your ego, he’s the one that we should blame
Had to grab my heart back
God knows something had to change
I thought that you’d be happy
I found the one thing I need, why you mad
It’s just the brand new kind of me

It took a long, long time to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try
It took one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, don’t be surprised

If I talk a little louder
If I speak up when you’re wrong
If I walk a little taller
I’ve been under you too long
If you noticed that I’m different
Don’t take it personally
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
That ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of free

Oh, it took a long, long road to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try
I’ve taken one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, oh see you look surprised

Hey, if you were a friend, you want to get know me again
If you were worth the while
You’d be happy to see me smile
I’m not expecting sorry
I’m too busy finding myself
I got this
I found me, I found me, yeah
I don’t need your opinion
I’m not waiting for your ok
I’ll never be perfect, but at least now I’m brave
Now, my heart is open
And I can finally breathe
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of free
That ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of me
Don’t be mad, it’s a brand new time for me, yeah

Moment of Inspiration: God can do the impossible

Lately, I’ve started reading the book of Matthew and starting off, I didn’t think I’d get much out of it because I’ve read it a million times over–especially concerning Jesus’ birth. At first, I skipped to Chapter 4 which talks about Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness but God definitely wanted to show me something besides the surface knowledge I already knew, so I began again at Chapter 1.

So as I was reading Chapter 1, certain scripture verses started to jump out at me… “But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit” … “for the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit” (Matt 1:18-20). As I read the first part of the verse, I had a major revelation moment that God can do anything. God literally put a child within a woman automatically, with no natural assistance. That’s crazy. But God made it happen.

Things may look impossible and you may believe that it’s just not going to happen for you, but what seems impossible to you isn’t impossible for God. God can do the impossible.

The First Chapel

Chapel is our mid-week morning worship service that leaves you with a brief message from the Bible and something to think about throughout the week. The most important part to me is the message, because that’s where God can speak to me and open my eyes to things I need to know, don’t notice, or even ignore. The first chapel was about getting from Point A to Point B, meaning moving from a place of weak, flip floppy faith to truly living out your faith in Christ and making an impact in the lives of the people around you. The message was based off of John 18:15-27 (the moments that Peter denied Christ) and Acts 2:14-41 (the moment when Peter was bold and addressed the crowd at Pentecost). The main idea was to reveal to us three steps from how to go from weak faith to strong faith that’s unmovable and that we are willing to give our lives for.

Step 1: Giving your life to Christ. Coming into a relationship with God, through Jesus, opens the door to faith and also experiencing changes brought about by the Holy Spirit (beginning the journey to eternal life).

Step 2: Surrendering everything in your life to Christ. The goal that every Christian should be striving for is to fully surrender your life to God, not partially, but all things.

Step 3: Get filled with the Holy Spirit. Just like at Pentecost, the disciples were waiting in prayer and suddenly, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. Through that experience, God endowed them with boldness and confidence to speak for Christ, and they were able to impact their generation with their lifestyle of self-denial and separation unto God.

The main points that I took from this message was that there is grace for us and we can become bold in our witness for Christ. It is possible for us to go from flimsy faith to being courageous. In our own strength, we are not able to fully live for Christ as we should, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, God can strengthen us to show the world who Christ is through our life’s example, and to bring salvation to all men.

1st Post!!

Hey, welcome to my blog page! I am excited for you to be following my journey of mission work! I just want to open up with a short introduction about myself & my first missionary experience in the US. My name is Kharissa and I am a full-time missionary at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri. As the Ministry and Missions Coordinator, I have a number of assignments. I will be working with the Chaplain of CMU’s Campus Ministry to develop three areas of engagement: Participating in Campus Ministry, connecting with local UMC Churches, and developing Civic Engagement projects. As far as Campus Ministry, I will be participating in public chapel services on campus, attending and/or leading yearly missions trips, as well as developing new small group meetings, and engaging the upcoming freshman community of students.

There is a lot of work and ministry that will be apart of in these coming months, and I am excited to see how God uses me during this time, my personal growth, as well as the progress that will ensue over the next 2 years throughout the Central Methodist campus and the local community of Fayette. If you would like to see my blog page on the UMC Mission site, the address is: http://www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/Allman–Kharissa

Thank you & look forward to more future updates!!

~Kharissa