Thursday, December 22, 2011

Back in the states

My last couple weeks of Burkina are still burned into my mind so clearly. With each smile and hug, my heart is constantly there. I been thanking the Lord constantly for sending me. For opening my eyes up even more and guiding me to a country that I honestly had not heard of until a year ago. I had always dreamed of my time holding little African babies, walking the streets, being in their culture, and really seeing first hand what this "Africa" was like. I know that I only saw a glimpse of life in Burkina and the other countries or even tribes of people in the same country are so different but nothing could have prepared me for my time. God is working in Africa! He really is... and I feel so blessed to be beside a ministry that is making progress and really reaching the people for Christ.

I think back to the great experiences of really hearing the children's stories. When they finally trust you enough to open up their hearts to you. It feels like I just made progress and then I was on the plane home. I feel deep in my heart that God is calling me back to the Burkina Faso. I didn't really realize that, that feeling of something missing was there until I left... it is amazing how our hearts, when they are for God, can hold so much love and compassion.

These past few weeks have been just adjusting to the time change and catching up with friends. Sharing with them crazy stories- that truly I can't believe myself and i experienced them. I wanted to thank everyone so much for their support and prayers. And I ask you to continue to pray for me--  for my heart. I know God is working even with my time at home and I am moving onto the next step of life.

I move to Tijuana, Mexico on January 16th for at least a year.  I will be doing administration and group coordination for the mission that I have been working with for the past like 4 years. I miss my mexican kids and it seems surreal that in a few weeks I will be hugging them all again. I am not super "excited" about the new job as I am just running around like crazy trying to get caught up and learning everything. I don't know if this is my heart-- I know it is a need that needs to be filled but I keep thinking am I truly the person that God has called for this for a long extended period of time. I am playing it day by day hoping God will reveal to me exactly what He wants.

I wanted to end with my last days-- it was my last night in Burkina and we got all the kids in the orphanage together for a meal. It was a great time of fellowship and at the end they asked if anyone wanted to say a few words. Different children stood up and I was strong not to cry. I kept wanting to say--- you have all blessed me more than I could have ever blessed you. They gave me a notebook of letters- thanking me for my time. The next morning i woke up early to hug them all goodbye before they left for school. I stayed strong until 7 year old Jonas came to sit on my lap, the thought that tomorrow I can't wake up and hold you like I did everyday. Tears streamed down my face and he looked at me with a concern-- then he said, WHY!? Why are you crying?? please stop because it makes me sad. So I pulled myself together and made it through all the rest of the kids. It was almost time to leave and I knew it was time to say goodbye to Barthelemy, a young man that has become one of my best friends in my life. I hugged him and someone handed me the notebook of letters. I walked back into the house bawling my eyes out. It is so much harder to leave them... for they are so much farther away. And im not sure when exactly I can come back.

Burkina transformed my heart. It made me find more of myself in Christ and made me discover more of what breaks Gods heart everyday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Overflowing Joy

You know when your heart is torn and you don't know exactly what you are suppose to do? I am leaving in around two weeks to go home. I am excited to hug my family and friends but leaving the wonderful people I have fallen in love with is eating away at my heart. I don't know if it has hit me yet that I don't know if I will ever see some of these children again, especially the babies. I was just walking by the baby area and the toddlers starting yelling at me to come over. They began to show off and scream in their little baby talk. When I hold them I think of their stories... abandonment, orphaned, unwanted, and a lot with mentally ill mothers. The thought of, "their families have no idea what they are missing! The kids have such hilarious personalities and have become such a delight." I am so grateful for places like this orphanage that can give these children food, shelter, love, and care for as long as they can. Some of the babies can be adopted out and it brings such joy to think that they will be individual loved and cared for. We pray each night for their families and that the children will grow up knowing of our loving Savior.

The director and two german girls who I stay with were all gone for the past couple of days so I have been by myself in our house and just enjoying the time with the orphanage children. This morning I was the only white person in church and I was able to sing in the french choir and sing a special song with some of our kids from the orphanage. Church here is such a joyful experience. I believe that they see God for who He really is... our big creator that can do anything and will take care of everything! The christians here pray with such passion, sing at the top of their lungs and dance with sweet joy. I was telling some of the older boys in the orphanage last night that church at home is a totally different experience. They said, what do you mean church is only like an hour long? And you don't really dance in church? I was convicted because I don't find myself joyfully dancing for Jesus very often. What are we missing? I want this overflowing joy and unstoppable faith that can move mountains.

This past week has been really difficult on my heart, yet the Lord is so faithful and through little glimpses I can see His will taking root more in my life. I love Africa- the culture, people, and I can see such a need that I want to help with. One day, I feel maybe the Lord will call me here for a longer period of time. I know my life is completely in His hands!

I can see God working so much here in Burkina. Even though Islam is the main religion and you see people praying in the streets on their mats for their "rituals" trying to earn their way to what they think is paradise. I see such desperation and I do see that when people receive Christ here, their lives are completely changed. Its something I know even myself, need to learn. I love Jesus so much... but do I trust Him completely for every little thing? The poverty here is so evident but the people are just like.. this is our life. We don't have much... but do we really need much? In an average family here- they would live in a sod like house and they would sleep on woven plastic mats on a concrete or dirt floor. They wouldn't have furniture but maybe like a bench or chair and they wouldn't have many clothes.. but just enough to live.

I was asking some of the kids last night about if they saw a lot of white people when they were little in living in the village. They said, every once in awhile they would see one and they were so happy. They would scream "white person" and "candy."  Also, they remember when they would see a car and how happy they were to see one of those! haha It made me smile to think of how simple life was in that. Playing in the dirt with rocks and running around chasing old bike tires.

The people I have been blessed enough to meet so far are just amazing. Thank you Lord Jesus for changing my life even more... I feel that I am becoming more of who You created me to be.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meeting David...

On Tuesday of this week I left early in the morning with our director and social worker to pick up a young boy named David. About two and half hours from the village where we live through long dirt roads and way off form everything we come upon the orphanage where he is being taken care of. The children ran to us to shake our hands and a boy around 9-10 years old came up and just held my hand as I walked around to the house. Then he said, I am David. He was excited to go with us and we took his care-taker as well. We began the journey of going to the eye doctor in the capital city called Ouagadougou to see what his vision was really like. He was so patient the entire time and his sweet smile melted my heart. I was struck by how beautiful he really was and they told me that he had never been in school, we don't really know his real age, and if his eye sight is really horrible that it is going to be even more difficult to place him into a family for adoption. I want to badly to adopt! It eats at my heart almost everyday that I am here.

After the doctors office we got the news that he was almost completely blind and that his optic nerve had been damaged and there was no way to re-pair it. In that moment, I knew that there was a special family out there that was going to take this boy! I said, he will be a challenge but we really need a family that wants to make a difference and give a child a life. He is so gentle, sweet, and precious.. I know that if people met him that they would fall in love with him just like I did. Please come along side us in prayer for this sweet boy.

Faical and I
The Lord everyday seems to put new things on my heart and challenge me to be more of His. I have loved my moments here with the children and beautiful people of Burkina Faso. Lately, I learned how to say "I love you" in the tribal language and I know the kids probably don't hear that very often but I still don't hesitate to say it :) This last sunday as I was walking home from church with the kids one of the little boys named Faical, who is 13 years old whispered in my ear, in the tribal language, "I love you so much" my heart just melted and I knew THIS is the love of God! This is it! That is this amazing feeling down into my soul that makes me want to jump for joy. Another young boy named Jonas who is 7 years old always brings a huge smile upon my face as I see his little stature run to me the moment I walk into his eye sight. He hugs me so tight, kisses me on the cheek, and says, I love you. I know that God is showing me how much He adores me and loves me through these people.

Unworthiness seems to always capture me whenever I am around the children. But I think God does that so I won't take them for granted. I love them all so much. Thank you for all your prayers and support. The Lord is so good and I have around 5 weeks left here in Africa. Time just goes so fast! It is going to hurt me to leave and I find myself in tears already thinking of that time BUT I am reminded that "Our God is as faithful as the rising sun"- Chris Tomlin.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. - 1 Peter 2:9

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Honestly Indescribable

In all seriousness so much has been happening and I feel bad for not writing. God has been working on every bit of my heart and I feel so unworthy to even be in the presence of the wonderful people of Burkina Faso. Last week all of the kids came back to the orphanage because the school year has started. So, I was finally able to truly meet everyone and I have fallen in love! They definitely have captured my heart and have left a long lasting impression. Sheltering Wings Orphanage has a lot of young men who are going to school and some are even in their 20s and are still in high school for various reasons. But the first day I was really able to meet them and spend time with them, we sat down and started playing music together. They LOVE music... it seems that most of them are talented and are so eager to learn more. Many have asked me to help them learn piano, guitar, and more vocals. So, I have been growing in relationships with them as we work and spend the time together.

I have been able to sing in church the past two sundays with the German girls and this past week a couple of the boys joined us! It was amazing. And one of the girls and I joined the French Choir in church. Its crazy because I don't really speak french.. haha.  Church is an all together interesting and long experience in itself. It is usually 2 1/2 to 3 hours long with SO much music... and their dancing is so different but amazing. I really love how open they are to let us join in and also share a song in English. :)

Every Tuesday night is a student lead prayer night with a little sermon and some music. So, tonight the kids got all together with their drums and sang praises to our great God in "Moore" their tribal language. It is such a great experience as they honestly sing as LOUD as they can to the Lord haha. One of our little boys named Jonas who is 7 years old, did a little dance that was absolutely adorable!

Then after some songs a young man named Bartholemy stood up with a guitar, looked up and said Praise the Lord (in Moore) and sang an amazing powerful song that HE WROTE! I was in awe as his sweet voice came so alive and everyone listened. It was so great- I thought, i want to take you home and share you with everyone!! :) Hearing him praise God in 'Moore' was honestly indescribable. Then they said, okay Tenielle, its your turn to sing a song. hahaha I was like what? okay... what song? and after that? So, I sang How Great is Our God. They all smiled and clapped. During the sermon one of the older boys came over and translated it all for me. They are so respectful and thoughtful in that way. Always making sure I am taken care of and feel comfortable there.

Ferdinand is the one in black :) 

I have been enjoying myself a lot as I grow in friendships with these amazing people. They keep asking me: when will you come back to Burkina? And how can we contact you when you leave? I am praying more and more about coming back maybe in a year or so :) We are still trying really hard to get all our kids sponsored for school.. its $35 a month and there is an amazing beautiful little boy named Ferdinand who is 11 and needs to be adopted! we are praying for the right family to take in this gorgeous boy. Contact me if you are interested in helping in anyway :)

thank you for all your prayers God is faithful and working!!! :) I love Africa very much and I am trying to take in all the sweet moments. From delivering food and soap to widows around the village, doing bible clubs for village kids, trying to give medicine to sick children in the mobile clinic, hugging one of the babies or just helping our kids with homework! God is working!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Living for moments like these...

Honesty… Reality… getting out of your comfort zone… waking up to what really God wants for your life… stop being selfish… being confident in who I really am… these are thoughts that keep running through my mind. I want to be something more for the kingdom of God and make a difference in peoples lives. Am I really following the will of God for my life?

Today I was able to go to a nearby village with some people to put on a little bible school for the kids. It was an amazing experience and it made me realize that I am in the right place. The moment we pulled up the kids were waving and screaming in excitement. I stepped out of the car and began shaking hands with about 30 kids. They brought chairs out for us and we sat under this shaded area. I counted almost 60 kids sitting on benches with big smiles on their faces.  I started to take pictures and just watched as the Pastor (who we brought with us) lead some songs in their tribal language and the kids were so excited. They danced, clapped, and sang with such joy.
The Pastor told the kids how Jesus is with them and is their friend. When he was done the kids were able to do a craft. They were supposed to draw a picture of them with Jesus. It was adorable to see their faces light up when they saw markers- they never get to use markers or crayons or do art projects. A little girl was beside who was probably 4 years old and I motioned her to come to me. She had no idea even how to hold the marker so I put her hand in mine and we drew a picture of her with Jesus. She smiled and kept that picture close to her. I walked around and told the kids that their pictures were beautiful and took some more pictures. Then we got to take a picture with them. They all piled up with two girls from Germany (who I am serving with) and I.

After we finished the service the Pastor of the village had us come into the dirt floored church to drink coffee and eat bread. The Pastor who came with us started asking us questions like where are you from and what not. He translated for the village Pastor in thanking us for our time. I started to tear up as I said it was a pleasure and blessing to even be in the presence of these children. They asked me how long I was staying and I told them that after this trip that I will be moving back to Mexico. The village Pastor said, “we need a full-time missionary here in this village.” My heart ached from that comment—So, many people need help but so many of us are not answering the call that God is sending.

I started talking the Germany girls, Anne and Judith, and I told them that if God told me to move to a village here that I would but that I would need His complete strength to do it because they do not have electricity or running water… and you would be living in a hut with a dirt floor constantly. That would very much out of a comfort zone. I am honestly open to whatever God has in store for my life and He will reveal to me even more in time exactly what He has. I need to keep remembering to live for today and not just for tomorrow. Moments like today with those kids in the village or hugging the babies in the baby room are the moments I live for. 

My mom and I decided to sponsor one of the babies from this orphanage and I love her so much. Her name is Marie and my heart just melts every time I see her. So many of these children need sponsored on a monthly basis so they can have food, clothes, medical care, and go to school. Pray about what God is laying on your heart. I am really working hard on trying to get people to sponsor these beautiful children and to help this orphanage/ministry.

God is here and working. Islam is HUGE here in Burkina Faso. I heard that about 85% of the country is Muslim. The other day I was in the capital and I saw streets that were blocked off and hundreds of people were kneeling on mats in lines praying to their god. It was intense to see. Every night we hear a Muslim man praying loudly in a microphone system of some sort from a temple nearby the orphanage.

I praise the Lord that He brought me here. I can feel that He has a plan. Thank you for your prayers. God is good and faithful. My selfishness gets a hold of me sometimes and I think ahhhh it’s hot and I am so sweaty… or why am I sick… Or I am tired of getting bug bites… or I wish that I could have a diet coke haha but I keep remembering that I am here for the Lord and I don’t need anything but Him.

“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”- Ephesians 6:10

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My first days in Burkina Faso, Africa!

On Friday September 9th I headed out of Omaha to my first connecting flight in Chicago. My first flight was delayed for a while but I had a long enough lay over in Chicago that it didn’t affect me much. Then from Chicago it took me to Brussels Belgium. It was a long plane ride but surprisingly not to bad. On that plane a Children’s choir from Uganda joined us and sang for us during the end of the trip. It was pretty amazing and the kids were adorable. As we were flying into Belgium I saw how incredible green it was and the beautiful stone old houses. I waited for a little while in the airport and couldn’t really talk to anyone because it seemed no one spoke English.  I stepped on the plane that was going to fly me to Africa and it still hadn’t hit me yet.
The person I sat by was a middle aged Belgium man who was going to Africa as a director for a government film. We talked for a long time about everything. I asked him about the spiritual aspect of Belgium. He was telling me how their heritage was Catholic and most people would consider themselves Catholic but only go to church for funerals and weddings. He said I think that the church is in important for tradition and heritage but I don’t believe in God. My heart broke… he shared how most people in Belgium don’t feel a need for God or that religion is important. He said there are very few Christian Churches but he had visited them before and enjoyed them more because it was like more of a family and not just rituals. He said, In America it seems religion is was more important to people than here. My heart was aching as I saw just a glimpse of the darkness of Europe. I had heard about it before… how people really don’t know Jesus. Most are not physically hungry but definitely spiritually.
At that moment I sat there thinking… my heart is breaking and I haven’t even made it to my “destination” and I felt a strong vibe that I wanted to do more. I thought, Lord are you calling me to help the spiritually lost in Europe? Are you just opening my eyes up even more? What is this pain I feel so deeply? The song “Hosanna” by Hillsong came into my mind where it says, “Break my heart for what breaks yours” and I felt that in that moment. I know that I can’t myself feed every hungry person, hold every orphan, or reach every one that is lost BUT I can help as many as possible and challenge people to GO!
Why aren’t more people willing to step up for the name of Jesus? I feel that its selfishness, being scared, and never opening your heart completely to be willing. Every one of us has a calling whether it is in the states or in a foreign country BUT most are not listening to the voice of God. He is not just calling some but every one has a purpose in the Kingdom of God. He said for all of us to GO and make disciples… not just some.
I stepped off the plane into Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and it was 95 degrees out and this red dirt coating everything. I got my bags and was bombarded by all these men trying to sell me things or trying to get me to pay them for helping me with my bags. I found Ruth, the director of the orphanage, and we headed to the car. Young men followed us all the way trying to help us so they could get paid. Finally we let one lift things up into the car and it was super intense. As we drove around I couldn’t believe the amount of people on bikes and motorcycles, they lined the streets. It was a bit overwhelming and honestly not real yet even though I was finally here. My dream of Africa was in front of my eyes and I was surrounded by these beautiful black people carrying things on their heads, riding in carts pulled by donkeys, and selling things on every corner.
A lot of things reminded me of Mexico in how they do things but stuff was very different too. Ruth and I started talking about the culture and it is very male dominant. Women really have no value whatsoever and they have to summit. Men will seriously ask a woman to be his wife and they have no dating process. She shared that I will probably be proposed to often and that I need to be careful because these men want a white wife.
A lot of people are Muslim here and very few have an Education. Most women have never been to school or they only went for a few years. They don’t want their women to have a mind of their own. Ruth and I have been staying here in the city for a few days getting some things done and having this house fixed up for missionaries that come into town. We have work crews of African men coming in to fix things. Yesterday one of them was trying to talk to me. I was trying to explain that I don’t speak French or the tribal language. He didn’t care he just wanted to really talk to me. Ruth translated something he said and he had asked if I was going to be here tomorrow. She told him yes and we laughed that his hopes were going to be up. Today he came back with some of the other workers and they asked if I would like to be this guys’ wife. I was like NOPE! I’m all good and I’m taken! Which is a lie in one sense but I guess I am taken by Jesus Christ. I am on my 6th day and I have already had lots of men give me looks and attention. It is a little intimidating and gross actually. We can’t even speak the same language and they want you.
The other night I was able to go with Ruth and another girl who stays here named, Becky, to the United States Embassy for Burkina Faso. We went to a meeting and got to talk with the Embassador and main workers. It was amazing actually. The people were extremely nice and want to help the orphanage. They also tried to talk mostly Becky into coming to work for an Embassy. They talked about the highlights of the work and all you get to do. It sounds super exciting and a great opportunity to help people and travel.
I have enjoyed my time so much already and I know God is working. My heart goes out for these people. I found out that in this culture they are not huggers, which is hard for me since it is one of my favorite things to do. And I always want to hug the children especially. It’s going to be an interesting time to be in such a different culture and to meet all these interesting people.

I have been now at the orphanage for like a day and a half. It has been a great time of holding beautiful babies, whom most are sick with Malaria, and getting to know the workers. J I was able to sing today with the lady baby caretakers. They sang in Morre (their tribal language) and I sang in English- Amazing Grace and How great Thou Art. The village I live in is called Yako and it definitely looks like the site I thought Africa would look like- farm animals running the dirt roads… houses made of sticks and mud… naked children running around… and so much more. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Following a dream while completely in His hands.

I am sitting in Omaha, Nebraska's airport thinking wow.. is this really happening? Could my dream of Africa really becoming true? It is surreal but also I am in complete awe of our great Father who had a plan all along. For around 6 years I have talked and prayed about going to Africa. I have watched movies, read books and articles, prayed for the people, looked at pictures, and longed to see/be in this place. I have even applied through different missions/organizations and it just never worked out. I don't really have expectations but I am just along for the ride. I know the Lord has chosen me. And everyday I praise Him for that.

People keep asking- what all will I be doing, aren't you scared, and what do you think its going to be like? My mind seriously has not wrapped around the fact that by this time tomorrow I will be on a totally different continent, in a culture I have never seen, with people I have never met.. and the only one who is literally with me in this travel is the Lord. I don't have fear but complete peace. I don't know exactly what I will be doing... but do really any of us? I mean I have a little bit of an idea.. But I am just excited that the chance has finally came up in my life. I want to take in every minute of it. I don't want to worry about political uprising or the "dangers" that everyone keeps reminding me of... our God is way bigger than any problem that is going on in this world. AND I am completely in His hands.

“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, 
the one I love, in whom I delight; 

I will put my Spirit on him,    
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
                               -Matthew 12:18

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Surprise Tijuana!

On this last Monday I left at 4:45am Nebraska time to head out on a shuttle to the Denver Airport. 12 hours later I was finally in Tijuana! I wanted to surprise almost everyone that I could in Mexico, so Aaron (our office guy) picked me up at the airport and called Sergio to say, hey im going to stop by cause I have something for you. As we pulled up to his house I was very anxious and excited. He was very surprised but said, i had a feeling you couldn't stay away for very long :) I spent sometime with him and then he took me to the orphanage. I was REALLY excited to get there. It was like I was counting down the blocks until we pulled into the parking area. I snuck in and saw that all the kids were in the dining room eating. One of them saw me and starting screaming my name. They were just about to pray for their meal and a few ran up to me to hug me. I told them all to sit down and we prayed. As they were praying, Ana, a 10 year old girl grabbed on to me and held on tight. They all couldn't believe that I was there. They kept saying... TENIELLE!!! HOW?!?! I went around to every kid at each of the tables and hugged and kissed them all. It was a sweet time. Then I hugged all the workers. It was such a great time. One boy said, i just can't believe you are here... I really didn't think I was going to see you for a long time. :)

It was an exciting rest of the day getting jumped on and lots of hugs. They had to show me everything new and tell me ALL about their lives. It was amazing. The next day I spent with the kids and helped them just with their everyday lives. My favorite parts of the days.. are waking up and seeing all their faces, them coming home from school and sharing about what they learned, and saying goodnight. All the hugs! :)

The Josues (4) starting preschool 
One of the days I was helping cook and in the kitchen there is the main telephone. One of the 4 year olds, Armando, came up and said, Tenielle we talked on that phone! I remember and I liked it :) I was so surprised how much they remember. All the kids were asking me about Africa and when I was going and exactly what it is like. I told them what i know and that I would show them everything when i get back and bring them gifts. I loved spending time with the older girls as well. It seems that I get to become even closer with every time I come. 

I talked to my sweet Jeovany who is going to be 13 this coming week. I said I was sorry I wasn't going to be in the orphanage for his birthday. He said, he wishes I was here but he understands. I told him how he is a son for me and how proud I truly am of who he is! He is incredible special to me. We have 7 new kids at the orphanage. And they are super cute and I got to know them a little bit in the days I was there. I think they felt they knew me right away b/c all the rest of the kids were freaking out. haha.

Christian (10) and I
The time went so fast and it seemed like I just got there and then my last day came. I was able to have a meeting with the staff of Baja Vision Ministries, which is Sergio (main founder), Israel (director of the orphanage), and Aaron (office administrator). They invited me to come on staff with them as a mission trip coordinator and lots of other stuff. They said it would be completely different than what I was doing before and I would be living at Sergio's house and have my own room. But I can visit the orphanage as much as I want. It would be a full time position and that I need to commit for at least a year. It is an amazing opportunity and I feel so honored. They told me to take a couple of weeks to think and pray about everything. If I do take the job they would want me in January to move down full time. I would have to raise my own support which I am not to worried about b/c if its of God, He will provide. :) I will also have to buy a new car that is higher off the ground, like a jeep or something- so please pray about that for me!

After the meeting I headed to see my friend Jesus, he had just gotten out of the hospital. When I walked into his house he was sitting in a chair and waiting for me. I went up and kissed him on the cheek. I sat down and we talked about some stuff. I brought him a framed picture of him and I. He said he liked it a lot and it was wrapped in bubble wrap so he had fun popping that haha. The doctors told him that a transplant will never be possible cause his body is so bad. He wouldn't make it through the surgery and lots of other things. He said he was angry at God. I didn't know really what to say except that I love him and that I am here for whatever he needs. We talked for awhile longer and then he was getting tired so I decided to go. He told me how much he loved me and he hugged me. He hugged me so tight like he was never going to see me on this earth again. He said, I will see you in january if I am still alive. I left crying and feeling helpless. I am crying selfishly b/c I want to keep him but honestly I just don't want him to suffer anymore.

Daniel (10) and the dogs.
Thank you all for all your prayers and support. The Lord completely raised my support for Africa! I am so excited :) I leave friday but will get there saturday. I know that this time will be a growing time in Him and a time to really realize exactly what He wants. I am so thankful that I was able to go to Tijuana this last week even if it was just for a couple of days. What a blessing it was to hug them all. They are all growing so fast! My prayer is that God is glorified completely through my life. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

To give it all..

What would it mean to give it all? To completely surrender your life, possessions, the people in your life, and everything to God.. Well its not going to happen over night but I believe its a life-long process and something we have to do everyday. Like waking up in the morning and saying, Lord this is Your day and You have control. Lately people have been asking me what my next step after Africa is... like will I move to Tijuana for a long period of time or what?

I have been thinking through Tijuana a lot lately.. I love it and I adore the people with all of my heart. It has become a home to me and it almost always is on my mind. And me going there for a long period time doesn't mean that I have to live there for the rest of my life hahaha. But my heart is also in other countries... oh how I long to do more! its so difficult sometimes.. I see so much need around the world and I want to travel there to help.. i want to be in their cultures, meet the people, love on them and hug them. I want to be in their lives. I want to truly make a difference.. and me staying in one place for awhile-- can mean that I can build relationships and truly make a difference in their lives. I know that the Lord will reveal in time, His will for my life.

I continue to praise God everyday that He opened my eyes to the real world and that He gave me a heart of compassion and love. Pray for those things in your life... God didn't just call some to have a Global heart BUT all of us... because God didn't just love a few but all. I head out to my mission soon and I am preparing everything. Its tough being home for this time.. I miss being on the field but I have seen that my love for Jesus has grown even more. He amazes me everyday. This joy has been growing in my heart that I feel so deeply in His will. :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My heart aches for the world.

This weekend was such a blessing to have International Students who go to University of Nebraska Lincoln come out to the church and two girls stayed in our homes. I loved it all so much. My heart was so blessed and it made me have so much of a heart for Asia. :) Two kids accepted Christ!

Lately human-trafficking has been on my heart and I want so badly to go and save girls out of brothels. I want them to know that they have worth and they are loved. I want to them to know the love of Christ and have a relationship with Him.

My heart cries out to do more! I know that I am serving in Tijuana and that I am headed to Africa but what MORE can I do!?!?! I am crying out to God. He is just breaking my heart constantly. This morning at church a group of teens and some adults went to Haiti and did VBS through the same mission I will be going to Africa with. Tears streamed down my face as I looked at those beautiful children in Haiti and how I long to hold the kids in Africa.

I have a feeling one day the Lord will send me to Haiti and all over. I want so badly to be helping kids and women in human trafficking. ONE DAY! Patience is important! But we need to wake up to the world around us. We need to realize that the world is bigger than just our house, our family, our town, our state, and our country. People are starving, suffering, enslaved, rapped constantly, and longing to hear the word of God. AND they need US to love them.

I heard my Pastor say this morning that Americans gave like $145 million dollars to missions last year BUT spent $304 million dollars in chewing gum. Where is your heart? What do you care about? When will we wake up and step out of our comfort to be who God has called us to be. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

When will we wake up?

I have been thinking a lot lately about my walk with the Lord and how it should truly be looking like. And what I mean by "looking like" I mean.. how do I look like to the eyes of Jesus and to the gospel that HE presented? In the eyes of some of the people around me I think they have this view of me that is so funny at times. I have become this "missionary girl" or that is my "missionary friend"... Its like I have been put on this weird step up... And let me tell you all now that I am a sinner and so ridiculous. I am selfish and I struggle. I gave up my life a long time ago to the Lord and every day He is working on my heart. On the mission field I have been put to the test... satan has his way of attacking in every way he can. But I always run to the Lord and ask for his protection because I realized a long time ago that I need help, I can't do this alone.

Today I was talking with different Pastors in McCook about speaking at their churches about my love for the Lord and the work that He is doing in Tijuana. One of them told me that he talked to the elders and didn't think that they had time this summer to have me come speak. Then he asked me to tell him about what I do. I said, I live/work at an orphanage, help at a hospice, help at an Old Folks Home, build homes for poor families, and other things. He said, yeah... but how are you speaking the gospel? I want to know what you do and the mission you work with do, to give people the gospel?

I was struck by that... I wanted to say, didn't I just tell you that? Serving. Loving. Having Compassion. Building Relationships. Giving. Isn't that showing the gospel? Doesn't God call us in 1 John 3:18- "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

Someone else asked me that similar question before too-- I said, well we have Bible Studies almost every night at the orphanage. We pray with the kids. They have VBS and lots of other the things. I don't tell about that all the time because I feel like it is natural that we tell them about Jesus. When we build a home for the family, we share with them how much God loves them and one of my favorite things Israel, the director of house building and the orphanage, says, "we are building two homes today. One for your physical body and one for your heart. We are letting you know that the hole in your heart, the longing that you feel.. can only be filled by Jesus."

Sometimes I think that I should tell the stories more-- but sometimes I feel like a failure because I haven't "prayed" with someone to come to Christ on this trip, this time or whatever. But then I realize that we are building a house in a persons life. We are laying the cement or nailing up the walls or putting on the roof... one day we pray that it will all fit together and be finished. But, maybe I was just suppose to be the person who did a piece in the beginning or middle.. and that i don't get to see the end. the new creation. the fruit.

I believe that God calls us to meet people where they are-- be there for them. Through it all. I love the kids at the orphanage with everything that I am and I long for them to know Christ BUT i can't force them to know Jesus. They are the ones that have to make that choice. I can stick beside them, pray for them, and love them along the way. Its living the gospel OUT. Being an example. I once heard a missionary say, "How can you tell a woman, with her starving child in her arms, that Jesus loves her but not feed her baby?" That has stuck with me ever since. Helping meet someones physical needs opens a bigger door to helping them meet their spiritual needs as well. Building relationships and trust-- are HUGE.

We need to challenge ourselves to truly live out the gospel with our lives... If we love people like Jesus does than they will know the difference. I talk about God normally to everyone, no matter if they are a Christian or not. There is no harm in talking about someone you love with all your heart. I have noticed that when you don't push but just be real-- people will respect you for it.

I need to wake up more and more to the person God wants me to be. I need to challenge myself and hunger for His word. Who are you with Christ? Do you just know Him as the one you said a prayer to once so you got your ticket to heaven? Or do you really know Him as the awesome and holy Savior that He says He is?

** the pictures I put up along with this are pictures
that I love that I found with African Children. Also I edited this one with words and stuff-- it reminds me how blessed we are and how I need to pray.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pictures of my babies in Mexico!

Here is a video of pictures of the kids at City of Angels. This shows my time that I spent in Tijuana on my last mission.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hugs, Gum, Peanut Butter, and Lots of Love

‎"If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all."
-Isaiah 7:9

The Lord is great and constantly amazing me with His great power. I was so blessed by my last couple weeks at City of Angels. Some of my favorite moments were the kids sharing that they would pray for me on my trip to Africa. It was so humbling to have them hug me goodbye and to hear them say I love you. The morning I left I went into their rooms and hugged each of them goodbye at like 6am. The best moment was hugging my beautiful Jeovany... he woke up and raised his arms up. He squeezed me really tight then fell back asleep haha. I was stuck for a little bit. :)

I thank the Lord everyday for bringing the people of Tijuana into my life. I know that
they are my family and I can't wait to hug them again in January- God willing. My next moment is off to Africa, I hope! I still need to raise more funds but I am a strong believer that if the Lord wants me there I will be. I have dreamed for years for the moment of being in Africa. Holding the children... living with the people... being in their culture.. I long for it. I love the people even before meeting them.

I was convicted lately that I need to become nonmaterialistic and really go through my things to give away or sell so the money can go towards my missions. I also had some time reading and I am constantly reminded that God CHOSE us. He chose me to be in Tijuana... He has a
purpose and even though I don't deserve it.. He uses me.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support. The Lord is definitely working in Tijuana and I constantly pray for the lives of those children. I would do anything for them to truly know the love of God and to have a real personal relationship with Him.

Another cute story- One day i was sitting on the couch in the orphanage when 7 year old Arnold comes up to me and yells, Tenielle! I have been hit! I looked at him in shock...
then he screamed, WITH GUM! I began to laugh... I was like okay how did that happen? he said, i don't know maybe someone put it there, or when I was rolling on the ground, or it was on the wall.. haha I couldn't stop laughing. I said, well lets get some peanut butter.. he said, Im not hungry. haha I said no its for your hair. I tried but then we just got peanut butter all over so then someone cut it out. It was dramatic and hilarious.

I miss those moments and the hugs so much.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Learning to be more selfless

Lately I have been so tired because it seems that I am constantly surrounded by children with no break. Then I hug them and I remember why I am here. I have been paying more attention to see how the children react to different things and they way they treat me. I know that they love me, I can see it and feel it. But they ask me so much for everything-- I cannot tell you how many times a day I get asked if one of them can have 5 pesos or if they can watch one of my movies, or use something of mine. Its this never ending give and give and give-- I don't hardly ever give them money except for maybe 50 cents for some chips when they go to school. I hate when they ask for money. And then when I say no I hear, You are horrible or I don't love you anymore! I always scream back, LIES! and we smile.

I love the children here with all of my heart and even when they say mean things or hurt me in someway or try to use me, I know that I am where I am suppose to be. Hugging these children is the delight of my life. When the cuddle up in your arms there is no comparison...

I have been trying to be more into God's word and to really hunger for it. To make it an everyday thing that isn't something I feel like I have to do BUT that I want to do it because its God's love letter to me. In the book I am reading.. Radical by David Platt-- he talks about is the Word of God enough for us? Or do we need all the other stuff in the church? I want to be one of those followers of Christ that gives EVERYTHING to Him... and that I would be willing to be killed in His name. It's difficult to imagine looking into your persecutors eyes and praising the Lord that you are suffering BUT its something that we have to be willing to do.

My prayer is to become more like Jesus and how he lived-- he was so blunt and real. I love that. This last week we walked in a march in downtown Tijuana. There were thousands of people there proclaiming that Jesus is King! It was great to walk with the kids.

I praise the Lord that He is so faithful and that He knows what He is doing. My friend Jesus is not well... I went today to see him and he is struggling a lot. His lungs and heart are full of fluid and he can't breathe well. He has two hernias and is in so much pain. I wish I could do something for him... I feel so helpless. I prayed with him and told him that I love him. His attitude is different and he is kind of angry. It makes it more difficult. But I pray for him constantly and I know God has a plan.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Days of Miracles

I am constantly looking at myself and wondering why out of millions lost was I chosen?! But then I think of how faithful and loving our Lord is to have me even though I am imperfect and unfaithful. God has completely left me in awe in the past week and I praise Him for His faithfulness, protection and guidance in my life.
A group from Nebraska came down to bless us lately and worked really hard at the orphanage and building a house for a family. One of my favorite moments was being able to go to the house on the last day and meet the family. The group had not met the father of the house yet because he was always working but he showed up in the middle of the day and the first thing he asked me was, can i help? I said, jump on in this is your house! :) Later in the day, Israel (director of the orphanage and house.building) had this young man come aside to talk. He
began with, Do you know that we are building two houses? This material one you see and the second on is in your heart for Jesus Christ. I was in complete awe as Israel presented the gospel with such passion and ease. He told him, I have the best gift in the world and I want to give it to you, its my Savior Jesus.

Later we prayed as an entire group for the family and then Israel asked him, are you ready to except Jesus as your Savior? yes or no? he said, I am ready! And they went over and he asked Christ to be his Savior. I was crying as I saw this man join the kingdom of Heaven. It was a beautiful moment of a miracle.

The next day we took the group to church, then off to tacos, and then to Sam's Club to buy things for a few places that needed food and supplies. We first headed over to the Hospice where I hadn't been in months. They were pretty excited to see me and I hugged them so tight. A lot were gone but that seems to happen a lot. i was blessed tremendously by the time we were there. One lady who I have known for almost 2 years now said that she loved me dearly and missed me a lot. She said, when I die will you take care of my children? I couldn't believe she said it... i was in shock.. She smiled at me and kissed me goodbye. I left with tears..

Then we stopped by the Womens Shelter and next the Old Folks Home. At the old folks home I was able to translate some of what the people were saying. I praise the Lord that I am finally understanding Spanish! It is all Him working! The people shared about their lives and we prayed with them. The whole day was a sweet time of serving and fellowship.
This last Tuesday night I was able to pray over each child at the orphanage. It was beyond words. I started to cry during the first kid and I didn't stop crying until I made it through at least 30 of them haha. Sometimes I was crying so hard that I couldn't even pray out loud. I held them tightly in my arms and whispered in their ears not only a prayer but how amazing, smart, beautiful, and talented they are. And that God has a plan for their lives and I love them with ALL of my heart. Also that I pray for the constantly and when I am not here.. I am still here in their hearts.

By the end of it, 6 year old Pepino wanted me to pray for him again. So he came and hugged me tight. I was crying so hard and he looked at me in my eyes with concern... he said, I will pray for you! "Lord, take care of Tenielle because I love her and she loves us all so much. take care of her family and her life." Then he looked at me again and asked me to take of my glasses and close my eyes. Then he took his shirt and wiped the tears off of my face.

I am still in awe of that moment and blessed beyond anything I could ever describe. God is so good and never forget that. Even in the times of suffering or joy He is there working. I just starting reading a book called Radical by David Platt. It is very convicting and I think I am going to be convicted the whole time I read it. He talks a lot about how we need to be like the Jesus of the Bible not the Jesus we have "molded" him to be. And to be willing to give up EVERYTHING for His sake.

Lord, I pray that I would be a servant of You that is completely willing to give up everything in Your name. I want to have a radical relationship with You... I never want to be comfortable. Guide me... use me... and make me be the way You made me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Estoy en Tijuana

Hey everyone,

I am back in Tijuana and loving on some beautiful children. God is good and working. I have been praying a lot for the kids and for God to show me needs that need to be met. We are searching for a desktop computer for the orphanage because our other brokedown. A friend of mine is going to help some but It would be amazing in the end to get the more than one... to bless them more in the long run!

The kids keep thinking that I am going to leave them... its not real to them that I am staying for another month. EVerytime I go out of the orphanage or if I am carrying a bag they freak out and ask if I am going home. I love them so much

Today we went to the movies and saw the movie Rio which is about some birds. The kids were so happy. Thank you for all your prayers and I hope to keep you all updated.. we don't have internet at the orphanage right now, I am just going to an internet store.

thanks again!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Love them like Jesus

The past week or so I been listening to the Bible in audio form and I have enjoyed it tremendously. I wish I would have had that when I kept having terrifying nightmares in Mexico.I have been listening to the smaller books in the Old Testament and things have been popping out at me... like: "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land."- Malachi 3:12 OR "Lord, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of Your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known: in wrath remember mercy."- Habakkuk 3:2
Have I really ever stood completely in awe of our God? Have you? I just thought I would share them with you.

But, anyways, I am heading back to Tijuana this coming wednesday and for some reason I am a little nervous. I have been there tons of times but my nerves are kicking in. I think that satan is trying to bring me down BUT I believe that if satan is working against me that, that means God has something huge in store for this 5 week trip.

I wanted to ask you for your prayers for the kids and for me. I have realized more and more that prayers are what is getting me through. I love the kids at City of Angels with all of my heart-- through all odds I continue to have this passion for them to have a future, to be safe, and to realize how much Jesus loves them. I want them so badly to be servants of our great servant. And one day i hope they all are. I thought of the song "Love them like Jesus" by Casting crowns and here are the lyrics that got to me:

"Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus"

Do we really love the people around us like Jesus? We can't just love the ones who are easy to love but we are called to love all. All the forgotten, drugged, crazy, scary, homeless, orphaned, rich and poor. A friend sent me a quote the other day that blessed me BEYOND belief and I hope that it touches your heart as well.

"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces.
It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms.
But once you do, everything changes." - David Platt
That quote brings tears to my eyes, the children at City of Angels Orphanage changed everything in my life. This little boy in the picture above is my beautiful, intelligent, Luis. He is 12 years old and my days are not complete without a hug from this gorgeous boy. He has captured my heart. I hope you are all blessed and I thank you for all your support so far. I will try to keep up on my adventures through the next 6 weeks or so.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Never forget the Faithfulness of Our God!

I am so amazed by our great Father. I am raising support and still have quite a ways to go but it still amazes me that anyone would give. I mean... who am I to serve? To be a missionary? WOW the Lord uses you when you least expect it and when you feel so unworthy.

Constantly on the field I feel unworthy of the calling the Lord has put in front of my face but I still listen for His voice. Last night I was praying for my kids in Tijuana and my heart started to hurt. I began to cry deeply as I thought about each child. I want to help them and let them see that they CAN have a future! I want them to know my Savior like I do and even deeper. I want them to feel His presence and be amazed by His works. I want them to know how much I adore them, love them, and would do anything for them to know Christ. They need to know how special, beauitful, smart and talented they are.
With tears in my eyes, I could just feel the pain of the kids. They are so little but have been through so much. Just the thought of abandonment alone is horrifying and also some have been abused, hungry, and so much more. Pray for a little boy at the orphanage named Jesus. We call him Chuma and he just turned 11. He is on my heart a lot and I know what he has been through and the more I am in Tijuana the more I see the pain. He has a lot of troubles but has a sweet heart. I know if he would give everything to the Lord that he would be a great servant of Christ.
I watched the movie Bordertown lately and it is about the girls who were raped and murdered in Juarez, Mexico. In the movie it reminded me a lot of Tijuana. All the prostitution and poverty as they would show the city. How the police really don't care about the people and how corrupt the government is. I kept thinking of the people I cherish so much and made me believe even more that we can not be afraid. We need to stand up and truly help the people of Mexico. I hear all the time that I am crazy to serve there because it is so "horrible" but I always say... but who else will go? I have been called and I will not go against what the Lord is telling me. And the safest place for me to be is in the center of God's will!

Sergio (the missionary I work with) told me to read Isaiah 62: 1-4a, 6-7, 12 and to switch the name Jerusalem for Tijuana:
"For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Tijuana’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.....

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Tijuana;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD,
give yourselves no rest,
and give him no rest till he establishes Tijuana
and makes her the praise of the earth...

They will be called the Holy People,
the Redeemed of the LORD;
and you will be called Sought After,
the City No Longer Deserted."

The Lord is working in Tijuana and I believe He is going to change things in His time :) I leave for Tijuana on May 25th for 5 weeks then had off to Africa in September.

If you want to help with my missions you can donate at and do down to the bottom of the page and click on "donate now" then under "donation type" scroll down to my name :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This is not our home...

When friends betray us

When darkness seems to win

We know the pain reminds this heart

That this is not, this is not our home,
 It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops

What if Your healing comes through tears

And what if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments

Or the aching of this life

Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy

And what if trials of this life

The rain, the storms, the hardest nights 
Are Your mercies in disguise

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I see myself and what I truly am in the Lord. I don’t know what the Lord completely wants from me but I am trying to hear His voice through all of the stuff going on in my life. I love the song “Blessings” by Laura Story… my favorite part is “This is not our home.” I really love thinking about when I finally get to see my Savior face to face.

Life has been kind of crazy lately and I am back at home visiting family. I went home in March for a little bit then back to Tijuana for my birthday and some other wonderful things. The Lord really blessed the time but I still have this pain in my heart from hurt friendships. I keep thinking… maybe if I could just stop caring about what people think of me or even what I think of myself when I look in the mirror than life would get better. In it all it is going to take trusting in the Lord to get over those things. But God blessed the time with a great miracle of a new 15-passenger van for the orphanage!

When I was home in March the Lord raised over $4,300 in 2 weeks to bless City of Angels. So I went back at the beginning of April so pumped to buy a van! We found a van in a newspaper ad of all places for $2,650 but it didn’t have seats. BUT the next day someone was selling the exact seats that we needed for only $150. God’s hand was guiding every moment of that whole thing. I remember telling the director Israel, “I believe God wants this van for the orphanage WAY more than we could ever imagine.” It is a beautiful van and such a blessing. And we were able to fix two other cars in the orphanage :)

My birthday was a surprise of love and hugs. The little girls woke me up at 5:50am to sing me a special Mexican birthday song. It was super cute and then they all jumped on me to hug me. The whole day was great and in the evening the kids had a party for me where they put my cake in my face. I truly love the people in Tijuana.

I want to thank you all for all your prayers. I am headed back to Tijuana may 25th-June 30th. Then I head off to Burkina Faso, Africa in September for 3 months. I am working through Christian World Outreach and in an orphanage called Sheltering Wings. I will be able to work in a school and clinic too! I am excited to see what the Lord has in store. Please pray for all the preparations and everything.

Also, thank you so much for your prayers for my friend Chuy (Jesus). He is at home now but the doctors did tell him that he will not be able to receive a transplant because his body is just so sick and weak. Please keep pray for him. I love him with all my heart and God can do a miracle but I have to not be selfish and let him go if the Lord wants him. He is suffering a lot but is better than he was earlier in the month.

Thanks again and God bless.