Sunday, March 27, 2011


I just finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It has taken me an incredible amount of time to read, but I think that God allowed me to finish it at the exact time I needed it. I have been feeling so off lately. Apathy has been my worst enemy. This feeling started about two weeks ago, and I am finally at my wits end with it. Instead of enjoying my last few weeks in Haiti, all I have been looking at is getting home. Throughout the week, I am totally fine. The days go by so quickly, but when the weekend rolls around, I wallow around in my self-pity and feel bad for myself. Instead of doing something about it like reading my Bible and praying, I would watch movies and play on Facebook. I didn’t care what was happening in my heart. I shut it out, saying “I’ll deal with this later.” Later finally caught up with me.

I don’t want to regret my last 8 weeks here. I’ve been on that path. I am in no way miserable being here; I’m just really homesick. I see what my friends are doing and I long to be with them. I love my friends here, I love my students, but my heart is so set on Nashville, and what life will be like once I’m there. I’ve been disobedient to what God is calling me to do. I have not abandoned my faith, but I’ve become a lazy person in all aspects. I’m not being the best anything: best teacher, best friend, best daughter, best sister.

As I was reading the final chapters of Crazy Love, Francis Chan profiles characteristics of the obsessed. I recalled the times in my life when Christ was my all. I remember in High School, facing the torment of other students because I was a “good girl” and a “Bible beater.” I remember in college and being involved in 5 Bible studies a week because I couldn’t get enough of Christ. I recall a few months ago when I was sitting in my room crying out to Christ because He was ALL I had. I look back at Spring Break when incredible friends surrounded me and we had so many great conversations about what God was doing. So many instances have I seen those characteristics in my life. I look in the mirror right now, and all I see is lazy, avoidant, unloving. All of the things I never wanted to be, I have become.

Where did that “obsessed” girl go? I’ve been avoiding conversations about the topic because I was terrified to admit it. Until last night, that is. God has placed some incredible people in my life while I have been here in Haiti, and last night was one of the nights where God used His perfect timing to break me down. One of the teachers was in my apartment until 1:00 this morning and I poured out my heart to her. I told her how unhappy and disappointed I was that I’ve let myself get this far. I have no willpower to even care about the Bible or prayer. I haven’t loved my students like they need.

She was so practical and said “then start doing something. Talking about it will not solve anything. You will wish for these days in Haiti where you can sit around and be lazy, but don’t waste this time.” So profound. Exactly what I needed to hear. I can complain and mope and say I wish I was still that girl, but if I just talk about it, nothing will change.

So I am going to be the girl that I know God wants me to be. I’m done complaining and moping. I’m starting to cry as I write this because it feels so good to say those words. I haven’t wanted to say those words in so long. I’m completely surrendered in every aspect of my life. I will not waste these last weeks.

Ok, Kristina, it’s out there. You’ve said it. But what will change? What are you going to do?

Francic Chan laid out 13 different characteristic of being obsessed.

1. Lovers – I want to love those that have hurt me. I will pray for those who persecute me and don’t understand me. I will give without repayment, whether that be physically or emotionally. I will love those that cannot love me back.

2. Risk Takers – I will not be consumed with my personal safety and comfort, but I will look more to what will advance the Kingdom, whether that involves my pain or not.

3. Friend of All – I will love the poor. I will pray for them. I will help them in any way that I possibly can, whether that be in Haiti or the States.

4. Crazy One – I will stick out. I will not conform to what everyone expects me to be. I will follow Christ, even if that path does not end in wealth of success.

5. The Humble – I will NOT be prideful. I will refuse recognition for anything because I know that it is Christ that is working through me.

6. Servers – I will not look at serving others as a burden, but a pleasure. Not because I have to, but because by serving someone, I can love them.

7. Givers – I will give. I will give financially, emotionally, physically, in any way that I can. I will always see my self as “too fortunate” and help those that I know are in need.

8. Sojourners – I will constantly keep my thoughts heavenward. I will rejoice in what God allows me to do on Earth, but I will keep my focus on what is above.

9. The Engrossed – I will have a passionate love for God above every other thing that I love. I will not allow my family, friends, job, or anything else to become an idol.

10. Unguarded One – I will not mask the ugliness of my sin. I will not hide the struggles I face. I will never be afraid to tell God exactly how I am feeling and what I am going through.

11. The Rooted – I will be fed through the Word of God. I will be more intimate with Him by spending time learning about Him and growing in His Word. I refuse to be distracted by all the messages I face each day.

12. The Dedicated – I will not allow my joy to depend on the circumstances around me. My joy will come from the ultimate joy giver, God alone.

13. Sacrificers – I will be faithful to my Savior no matter the cost. I will thank Him for everything, every day. I will be a child and a friend of God.

I’ve known for a long time that I’m not going to be normal. I’m not going to live a comfortable life in the States and make a lot of money. God did not create me that way. I have a burning passion for Him and I want to focus on being right here, right now. I do want to look to my future and pray that God does His will in my life, but right now, I need to get back to the girl I know I’m supposed to be. That means that I’m spending way less time on Facebook and worrying about what is going on in America, and more time delving into His word and learning more about my incredible Savior. I finally feel that burn and the passion for knowing Him more, and I do not want to be distracted by the things that have distracted me for the past several months.

I have an incredible opportunity. It is right here in front of me. I am not going to waste my final eight weeks. I will have intentional conversations and I will love my God with everything that is inside of me. He has already transformed me so much, and I refuse to be apathetic anymore.

I would love your prayers. This is definitely a process, and I’m not claiming it to be an easy one. I know that God will work in me and I finish out this incredible experience in Haiti. Love you all.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I was looking forward to YEC all week during Spring Break. I have never actually gone to YEC, but I know that God has always done huge things at this conference. I was psyched to finally be involved and be refreshed in Him. Most people know that one of my favorite places to eat is Buffalo Wild Wings, so before heading to help out, a couple of friends and I went to BWW to enjoy those delicious wings.

We got there pretty early to "finish setting up", which really means we just hung out until it was time for doors to open. Doors opened and people flooded in. I was on the "greeting team", so I welcomed the kids as they came in the door. It was a lot of fun, primarily because there was a lot of my friends around me doing the same thing. After the first session started, we went downstairs to set up a mission project area called Change This World. They made a presentation that absolutely broke my heart. One of the startling stats they mentioned is that every 3 seconds, a child dies from starvation. What is so sad about this is that starvation is a preventable disease.
"The world produces enough food to feed every human being 2700 calories per day!" Over 1 billion people in the world are undernourished, and change this world is doing something about it.

Change this world schedules events for schools, churches, and individuals who want to help. The school/church raises 12,000 dollars to package 50,000 meals. These meals are then distributed all over the world, including Haiti! 12,000 sounds like a lot of money, but it doesn't require just cold donations. They have a store where you can buy t-shirts, and all of the money that purchased that t-shirt goes to your event. You need at least 150 volunteers on event day, so if all of the volunteers bought a shirt, you've already raised $3,000!

We helped set up the event because several groups throughout the weekend were going to be packaging 50,000 meals. The meals include rice, soy, a dried veggie blend, and chicken flavored vitamin and mineral powder. Once the family receives the meal, they just add boiling water and voila, there is a balanced meal that can save someone's life.

I've always had a heart for the poor, but I really haven't known how to tangibly help. I know several high school students who feel the same way, and Change This World is such a great example to show that you can help. You don't always have to go, sometimes you can package meals.

This shirt from Change This World helps pack 50 meals!

After we finished set-up, and packaged a few meals ourselves, we ate lunch and got ready for the second session. I greeted once again, and this time around, I think I did even better than the first. The night session usually has more people, so we decided to have a little fun with them. We decided to be manikin's then once the group got inside the door we would jump out at them and yell "Welcome to YEC!" I sound like a total dork, but it was A LOT of fun! I was really excited about getting to actually watch the second session. Everyone that saw the first session said it was incredible, so I was excited to see God move this time around. The speaker was Afshin Ziafat. He is a former Muslim, who was disowned from his family for preaching the gospel. He really spoke to students about his experience, and how it paid off for him follow Christ. When we follow Christ, we have to give up a lot, but we gain so much more! It was a fantastic sermon, and when the time came, a bunch of students accepted Christ, and stood up for what they believed in. It reminded me to keep the faith no matter what adversity may come my way, whether it be unbelieving friends, rotten students, or personal attacks on my ministry.

A bunch of friends at the Youth Evangelism Conference
L to R: Patrick, Michael, me, Molly, Adam, Justin, Miranda, Lindsay

That night, the Tennessee Baptist Convention was so wonderful and allowed to stay in a hotel within walking distance of the convention center. I was staying with my friend Krystyne, but I was determined to get some Mike's Ice Cream before going back to Haiti. My favorite flavor is birthday cake! They close at midnight, and it was getting awfully close to that hour, so we literally RAN part of the way. If you know me at all, you probably know that I'm not much of a runner. That night I totally was. I was leading the pack and running my heart out to get to that wonderful birthday cake milkshake. We got there at 11:55 and asked the workers if it was any trouble for us to come in and order. They welcomed us with open arms and I got that delicious dessert I had been wanting.

After gulping my milkshake, we headed to another hotel to visit some friends from Parsons, Tennessee. We are all friends from Super Summer Camp. I never get to see any of those people (probably because I live a plane ride away), so I was extremely excited to visit with them and see how God was blessing them. We stayed for a little while, but after two noise complaints, we decided to jet. We went back to our hotel and all hung out for another 30 minutes or so. We were all zonked, but it's not often that we get to see each other for extended periods of time, so it was worth the tiredness.

A group of us with the Super Summer sign
L to R: Jande, Jamie, Maci, Adam, Jared, Adam, me

Saturday morning we got up early and got ready for another full day. The speaker this time around was Derwin Gray. Derwin used to play professional football, but gave up that life to pursue Christ, and is now a preacher. He is a very emotional speaker, and really affected many of the students with his sermon. He also spoke on giving up everything to pursue Christ. I really related to both speaker's messages and was convicted once again that I need to give up EVERYTHING and pursue Christ with all that I have.

We ate lunch. I greeted again. I definitely think I should persue greeting. Wal-mart won't know what him 'em when I step in the spot! It was a beautiful day outside so we layed around outside and talked with strangers. I really enjoyed my time just relaxing and enjoying the weather. After all the sessions were finished and we packed up what we could, the TBC was gracious enough to take us to Pie in the Sky pizzeria. I really enjoyed the greasy mess of pizza and the fellowship with all of the workers.

After eating we headed out to laser quest for a fun night. I am TERRIBLE, and I mean TERRIBLE. But I still had a wonderful time. We arranged a "girls alliance" and we tried to dominate. We failed. We were all terrible every time. But that's half of the fun.

I said my almost tearful goodbye to the friends I love so dearly and headed home to back for my last round in Haiti. I was eager to get back, but I haven't had such a hard time saying good-bye as I did this time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Coming To A Close

Spring Break, that is.

Thursday I got to see one of my very best friends, Brittany Carter. Since she is a big girl, and has a big girl job, we squeezed in a lunch date to catch up on life. It's so encouraging to see how the Lord is working in her and her husband's lives. They are very involved in their church, and God is completely blessing their marriage for being faithful. I'm excited for the day when I can fully invest in their lives and hopefully be a blessing to them. We ate at a whole foods, which was a new experience for me.

Short tangent: Ever since living in Haiti, my views on organic foods and eating "clean" have changed a great deal. I try to eat mostly organic while I'm here, and I have never felt better in my life. I have hardly been sick, except for the amount of bugs that I've ingested, and I just feel wonderful. I know that eating organic costs more, but I really have seen the benefits of it. Not only do I want to eat organic, but I've realized how important it is to truly "go green." I'm really working at jotting down my views and how I want my life to look as far as organic and going green. If you have any advice on how to do either of these things, holler at your girl!

So after lunch I went downtown to help set up things before the youth evangelism conference that was happening that weekend. I got there and automatically got put to work. I visited for a few minutes, then started sorting t-shirts for the several t-shirt tables. I then had the privilege of putting these awesome t-shirts on fake bodies and hanging them up for people to purchase. Sounds super boring, but I got to do this with a bunch of my friends. We made it super fun, and finished surprisingly quick.

As a nice little treat, Kent, the guy who runs YEC/pastor of Hope Fellowship, took some of us to Chili's for dinner. Since I was going to dinner with my family that night, I didn't actually eat, but really loved getting to bond with some of my friends. We had a really wonderful dinner topped off with an amazing molten lava cake. We ordered one normal one and one with peanut butter on the inside. It was probably the best dessert I've had in a long time. The peanut butter one tasted like a melted Reece's Cup! Every time I tried to take a bite, Jared would literally hit my spoon and steal my bite. I would perfectly concoct my bite, then he would jack it. You think I would learn after the first 3 times it happened, but I was convinced that I would get to eat that marvelous piece of cake. I got maybe two bites. But those two bites were fantastic!

I rode with Jared to Chili's, so before he took me back to my car, he, Justin and I went to the bookstore. I didn't really know Justin, so it was fun getting to know him and us all goofing around in the store. While we were walking back to the car, the boys decided last minute to carry me across the pedestrian walkway. We gave a lot of people a lot of laughs because not only were they carrying me, but Justin is somewhere around 6'3" and Jared is probably 5'10". So I was lopsided being carried across a busy intersection, giving everyone a pretty good laugh.

I finally got to my car, and drove to meet my family for my last dinner before I went back. My sister was literally about to pop, and I wanted to see her husband's parents before I came back to Haiti. We went to my favorite Hibachi Japanese place, Kabuto. What I'm about to say might completely shock you! I ate SUSHI! And what is even more surprising is that I LIKED IT! I had a bite of a Tennessee role, which technically is deep fried, but it still tasted wonderful. I had a little gag reflex because I realized that I was eating sushi. But thats not even the start of it. After my sushi tasting adventure, I ATE SHRIMP! And I LOVED IT! I've been missing out on the wonderfulness of these foods, but since living in Haiti, I've branched out and started eating so much more of a variety. It was so good to sit around and talk to my very preggo sister, her husband and his family. I really do love my family, and I'm thankful for every time I get to see them.

Family Dinner

My next blog is going to be my favorite one. I can't wait to share with you what God did at the Youth Evangelism Conference!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, Wednesday

After taking the GRE and being absolutely elated, I headed to Smryna to have coffee with my good friend Jared. I have known Jared for several years, but we have just now gotten closer through this year. I knew that God was doing amazing things in his life, and I was really excited to talk to him about all of it. We talked for a couple of hours about all of the wonderful things happening in his life, along with the church his family has planted, Hope Fellowship. I'm really thankful that God has put people like him in my life to encourage me and remind me that He is in control, not me.

After grabbing coffee with Jared, I raced to Green Hills to have dinner with a college friend, Kaitlin. I saw Kaitlin at Christmastime, but wasn't able to really sit down with her, so I wanted to make sure we got to sit and have a good conversation. She told me all about her new job and other new things that were happening in her life. We even talked about the possibility of living together at some point if our paths crossed. She is such a great encouragement, and I really enjoyed just hanging out with her.

Wednesday night, I surprised the youth at Inglewood by showing up. I was a little late, but it was so awesome to worship with that group of kids. I really miss being there for their lives. I think the hardest part is getting a text message from a girl that I've mentored for 5 years saying, "you've missed so much." My heart totally broke for her because I know that she is going through so much and I'm not there to be with her. I know that she understands what I'm doing here, but it is still so hard to know that she has a lot going on and I'm missing a lot. She also informed me that I'm missing her graduation, and I think she was upset, but she will understand at some point.

After church, I had dinner with my pastor and his wife and kids. I really love their encouragement and words of wisdom they lay over me every time we meet. I'm really excited about what God is doing in their lives, and I'm so thankful for their support of my ministry.

Wednesday was super jam packed, but I loved every second of it. God was truly blessing me throughout this trip, and I'm so thankful for all of the incredible people he put in my life to be with me.

More later :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A New Sister in Christ

Today has been such a wonderful day. Physically, I feel like crap. I have some form of a head cold that will NOT go away. Lots of coughing and random hiccups. In spite of all of that, it has still been an amazing day!

"Now Kristina, what part of that is amazing?" A precious seventh grader who I have spent a whole lot of time with accepted Christ today! We had chapel this morning, and the message was fantastic. The speaker talked about knowing about Christ, but never realizing LOVING Christ.

She ran up to me after chapel and said "I need to tell you something! I just accepted Christ! I'm a Christian!" She started crying, and I knew that something had transformed in her heart. God finally got through to her and she began to understand loving Christ, not just going through the motions of being a good person.

I hugged her and told her I was so excited for her. She has had so many seeds planted in her life from various people, and it is so exciting to see her finally wanting to walk in his ways.

Pray with me for her. I don't want to say her name because she hasn't quite had time to tell her family, but she has the potential to be an incredible woman of Christ. Let's bathe her in prayer as she starts this new walk.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Spring Break goodness

Monday of spring break I ate at Pei Wei, one of my favorite oriental places, with one of my best friends from high school, Aubrey. Aubrey and I had lost touch for a while, but we have recently started e-mailing and have rekindled our friendship. She is getting married in October and has asked me to be a part of that, and I am so excited. I can definitely see God working in her life, and I am so excited for our new friendship to continue growing. Aubrey and I in high school

Monday I also studied for the GRE. Well, I say study, but I really mean, look at the book, close my eyes, get distracted, look back at the book. It was really challenging for me to even have the motivation to study, but I did the best I could. Monday night, Adam and I decided to go to Margaritaville for some yummy dinner. It was good for just the two of us to hang out and talk and eat some extremely delicious food. It was my first trip to the restaurant in Nashville, and it was definitely worth it. I savored every bite and enjoyed the company of one of my best friends.

Adam and I

Tuesday rolled around and the pressure was on for me to study for the GRE. I have always had really bad test anxiety, and this day my stomach was in my throat. I was terrified of failure, so I spent most of the day trying to cram in as much information as possible. I knew I was going out to dinner that night, so I studied as much as I could before getting ready to eat with an old friend. All of the mathmatic equations were becoming jumbled in my head, but I tried to be as prepared as possible. I really wanted to relax that night and not think about anything, and that was an absolute answer to prayer. I met Nathan my freshman year of college at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. We became friends in Chicago while we were serving on a mission trip there. We had lost touch after he graduated college, but decided to meet up and talk about life. We went to California Pizza Kitchen and ate some delicious pizza while telling each other about of journey of life. It was really wonderful to see how God was using him. Nathan and I in Chicago

Wednesday was the big day. I had studied as much as possible, and now it was go time. I left really early to get to my test, fearful of being late. They let me start my test a little early after filling out a lot of paperwork that said I would not cheat. I was expected to be at the testing center for 4.5 hours, but I decided to take no breaks and finish a little earlier. Surprisingly, it only took me about 3 hours to complete. As I was going through the questions, I really thought I had not done well. I knew that I needed an 800 to get into the grad school I want to attend. I'm closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and waited for my score to appear. 910.
910!!!!!!!!! That is the happiest news I could ever have gotten, well at least that day. I skipped out of the building, so proud of the score I had just received. The only way that I would've gotten that score is by God's grace. He is so good to me all the time, and I feel more affirmed that I am walking in the path He has laid out for me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Oh, the perks of being a teacher..

One of the best perks is that you get SPRING BREAK! I was so excited about spring break this year because it meant not only did I get to go home, but I was able to see God move through the lives of thousands of students at the Youth Evangelism Conference in Nashville. All the pictures I put on here are not from this break. Even though I took my camera almost everywhere I went, I somehow forgot to take a single picture.

I left Haiti at 5 pm on Friday, but a bunch of my students were on my flight, so I wasn't totally out of "teacher-mode" yet. Once we hit Miami, I was exhausted and was just ready to be home. I arrived in Nashville around 11 pm and went straight to Ihop with my mom, the two Adams, and Jared. They really are the cream of the crop when it comes to friends.

The Adam's and Jared when I came back in December!

Saturday I slept in late, and watched tons of Glee! I have missed watching that show, and it was really the only one that I wanted to see (you can go ahead and bash me for watching stupid tv shows, it's ok). I took one of the longest, hottest showers of my life and really rejoiced in the fact that I was sleeping on a real bed. The littlest things remind me so much of God's love for me. After being lazy and enjoying the luxuries of life, I got ready and went over to visit one of my best friends, Kellye. We had already decided to hit the town that night, but I wanted to spend some time with her before we were surrounded by tons of people. We ended up going to eat with my friends Michelle and Whitney, then we headed downtown for my favorite ice cream on the planet. We then went to see a local band play where a couple of other friends met up with us. I felt like I was truly living the "Nashville life" that night, being surrounded by southern accents and country music.
Kellye and I at her bachelorette party!

Michelle and I when she visited Haiti in February

Sunday morning I decided to go to a new church, Hope Fellowship. They have only been meeting for three Sundays, but I had been attending their home study meetings in the Summer. I really wanted to see how God was working in this church, and I can tell you that He is! I'm so excited for all the exciting things that are happening in this life of this church, and I'm even more excited that I get to see it happen! I was put on the spot to share a little about Haiti. I was so nervous, but really just asked God to speak through me and put something on my heart to share that might allow them to see a little bit of what He's doing here. It's so hard to summarize Haiti in any length. It would take me days upon days to truly explain everything that is Haiti. The sermon was fantastic, and the community there was so wonderful. I truly felt that these people that didn't even really know me, loved me, and that was the best feeling in the world.

Sunday afternoon I wanted to spend some time with my sister. I can't remember if I have mentioned this on the blog, but I am going to be an aunt, so I wanted to spend some time with her before the big day. I was praying that it would happen, while I was home, but instead, she is having little Kailee Ann tomorrow morning in a scheduled c-section. We went to lunch at Olive Garden and just sat around and talked for the rest of the day. It was great to hear her thoughts and tell her a little bit about Haiti. I miss getting to see her all the time and talking to her about anything and everything.

My sister, me, and her husband at dinner

Sunday night we decided to have an impromptu game night. There ended up being a lot of people there (several who I didn't know), but it ended up being one of my favorite nights. We played signs (my absolute FAVORITE, mafia, and killer). I loved spending time with people my age and not having to be a responsible adult at that moment. I love being all grown up, but I needed to let loose and not be in "teacher mode" for a few days.

I'm going to space out my week at home because I don't want you to get bored with a ten page blog. I want to share with you all the cool things God showed me this week so I'll continue this crazy story tomorrow.