Do Not Disturb

Last week, like most iPhone users, I updated my phone to the new operating system.  The feature that I was most excited about on this update was the “Do Not Disturb” option.  You can turn this on whenever you want, or program it to come on at a certain time, and no one can get through to you.  Although, you can set it up so that your “favorites” list can get through even if the feature is activated.

But this got me thinking…there are a lot of people I would put on my “favorites” list.  You know, those people that you call pretty regularly and don’t want to have to go searching for their number.  But I definitely didn’t want all of those people calling me at three in the morning.  My “favorites” list was going to have to take on a different meaning.

These are the people that can call me any time of the day and I will pick up.  Not because I feel an obligation to pick up, but because I am trying to build that kind of relationship with them.  A kind of intimacy that only comes from a feeling of safety and acceptance, no matter what.  These are the people that are investing into me and that I am pouring my life into.

I am the kind of person that tends to isolate and keep to myself.  Not because I don’t like people, but I’m just introverted.  I like to be alone and get things done on my own.  But life cannot be done alone.  You have to be known fully by some people.

So I would challenge you to make your own list.  Who are the people that have full access to you? Who are the people that are pouring into your life?  Who are the people that you are pouring your life into?  This should not be a long list.  We can’t be all things to all people.  Who are the exceptions to your “Do Not Disturb?”

Here is mine right now (it will change with different seasons of life I’m sure):

Mom, Dad, Leah, Jennie– My family.  These people get all access. My sisters are also the keepers of my nieces and nephews, and they get all access…they just don’t have phones.

Lo– A great, long-time friend who knows everything about me and understands me.  She knows all of the in’s and out’s and loves me anyway.

Allie, Allison, and Hannah– three 16 year old girls that God has given me the great privilege of knowing.  They have expanded my heart this year in more ways that I could have ever thought possible.  God has taught me a lot of lessons in my life and it’s important to give back to people.  So, what I have is theirs. Absolutely any hour of the day.

 

What Are You Going To Be Doing in El Salvador?

As a part of the ministry of La Casa de me Padre, several short-term teams come down every year to connect with the kids, work on projects around La Casa, and serve the community and families of the kids.  My job in El Salvador will be to connect with those teams as they are planning their trip and host them while they are in the country.

Most of the teams that come down are from North Point Community Church (my home and sending church) so I am really excited to serve with them in this unique way.  I am forever changed by the short-term trip that I took to El Salvador this past June, so it is an incredible privilege to host these teams.  I also hope to be involved in mentoring and tutoring the kids at La Casa when I am not working with teams.

So that is what I am going to be doing….but what can YOU do while I am in El Salvador?  Great question!  Thanks for asking! 🙂 I am in need of two specific groups of people to partner with me while I am on the mission field.

Prayer Team–  The prayer team is a group of people that God has called to pray specifically and regularly for me during this next season.  As a member of the prayer team, you would receive specific prayer request emails from me outside of the normal updates.  It is difficult to express the importance of this team.  I have personally experienced the power of people praying for me in specific ways and I will need a group of people that are constantly battling for me on their knees.

Financial Team– As a full-time missionary, I will be depending on the donation of people that God has specifically called to support me during this season. Whether it is a one-time donation to aid in the costs of training and moving preparation or a commitment to donate on a monthly basis, your support is a critical part of this journey.

If you would like to join either of these teams, OR if you would like to receive regular email updates from me about what is happening in El Salvador, please click here to fill out a form.

 

 

What Made You Decide To Move To El Salvador?

Two things that you need to know before I jump into this.  The first is that my favorite verse for the past several years has been Deuteronomy 30:19 which says “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” The second thing is that during my time in England two years ago, a pastor came up to me one Sunday and said, “Kelly, I’m not sure what this means, and you will definitely need to take it back to God, but I feel like I am supposed to tell you that you are going to be like a mother figure to many.”  In that moment I didn’t know what that meant, but I thanked him and pretty much forgot about it.

 

What God has done in my heart this summer is nothing short of miraculous.  In the post I wrote after my first trip to El Salvador I explained the way that God used the little girl in the picture above (Graciela) to absolutely break my heart and tear down my walls.  I walked into El Salvador with walls of self-preservation built up all around me and I walked out with walls that had been completely torn down and a broken heart.  It was one of the most painful and yet joyful things I have ever experienced.

So coming back home was a confusing time for me.  I wasn’t sure what to do with the emotions that I was experience and I definitely didn’t want to make a decision based on those emotions.  But I also didn’t want to ignore them.  So I took some time to pray about it, to sit with it, to talk to a few wise people in my life about it, and to just process.  Once I was able to work past the emotion I realized that there was a real heart and life-change that was in process.  Gary Powell told me that I should pray while I was on Kilimanjaro because I would be closer to God.  I know that he was partially kidding, but being on Kilimanjaro, completely unplugged, was a really great place to pray.

So during our first night in the tent on Kilimanjaro, I decided it was time to pray for a real answer about moving to El Salvador.  Pretty much all I had said to God was, “God, I don’t even know where to start praying, but I really need a clear answer on this…” and then in my heart I heard, “Choose life so that you and your children may live (remember this is from my favorite verse).  You will be like a mother figure to many (that is what Pastor James said to me two years ago that I had completely forgotten about!).”  I was blown away.  And since that day, every time that I think about or pray about El Salvador, that is exactly what I hear in my heart.

Normally I am the kind of person that really only needs about 30% clarity.  I’m a ready, fire, aim kind of person.  But God knew I needed a little more this time and He has been so faithful to clear the way for me.

I am so excited for this new chapter!

 

When Love Takes You In

This is a guest post that I wrote for the La Casa de mi Padre blog after my Labor Day trip down there.  I thought I would re-post it here for fun.

 When love takes you in, everything changes…   -Steven Curtis Chapman

This weekend Allie and I had the chance to spend the weekend with the Powell family and some of the girls from La Casa de me Padre.  To say that we were excited leading up to the weekend is an understatement, but we had no idea of the complete joy and overwhelming love that we were about to experience.

When you spend a weekend of unexpected slumber parties with the little girls of La Casa, love takes you in and takes on a whole new meaning.  Both Allie and I have experienced a tremendous amount of love in our lives, but this weekend we found out that love also means creating a game of Grapefruit Olympics in the backyard.  It means playing Princess Dominos and UNO by totally made up rules.  Love means being a lap to sit on and a waist to hug.  It means letting a little girl dry your hair for you and then not completing the drying process afterwards because you know she put her whole heart into it and she thinks it looks amazing.  (You know this because she keeps running her hands through it and telling you)  Love means sleeping on the floor for two nights and waking up with a little person snuggled right up next to you.  Love means not being able to roll over due to the little person and not caring because you are so grateful for that little girl.  It means playing endless games of Just Dance, even though you are a terrible dancer.  Love is having a sing-a-long in the back of the car even when you don’t understand what they are saying.  It’s making bracelets, flat ironing hair, giving up control of your phone to little hands that want to play games, and dancing some more.

You see, spending a few hours with the kids of La Casa will change your mind about a few things, but spending a weekend of slumber parties with them will change your heart.  As you look into those eyes that stare straight into your soul, you experience the overwhelming grace and love of your heavenly Father who is the restorer of broken things.  As you watch their walls begin to come down, you discover that yours have completely crumbled around you…and love takes you in.

 

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:12-13