Saturday, December 9, 2017

November

It's been a crazy, blessed month!

I got back from Georgia right at the beginning of the month. While in Georgia, I had a really cool conversation with a young man who approached the exhibit. We agreed that abortion should not be legal in the last two trimesters and should not be done for just any reason. He said that a good reason to have an abortion would be if an unborn was diagnosed with a disability. With permission, I shared with him the story of a baby with spina bifida who had received surgery in utero to fix part of the baby's spine. In the corner of my eye, I saw a lady in a wheelchair coming down the sidewalk in our direction. I kid you not, as we were talking, this woman approached us and interrupted our conversation. She passionately shared that she had spina bifida and was afraid for unborn babies with that diagnosis. Many of them are aborted. She said, "Never let disability be the reason you have an abortion. Never. We can have good lives too." The young man heard in awe as the woman told her story. He left an hour later saying that he had a lot to think about.

One week later I was in Oklahoma with the office team, most of our national team, and two volunteers! Outreach at OU was interesting, hard, and pretty great. I got to watch God quell some firey conversations almost as soon as they started. He opened up some doors I never would have expected in people's minds and hearts. He also set up some circumstances that were amazingly clear open doors. He guided us as we walked through the doors, minds, and fires of the students of the University of Oklahoma.

Fundraising filled the last two weeks of the internship with many letters sent and calls made. The encouragement from friends and family has been a huge blessing in this process.

Random adventures:
11/5 Called Sarah on her birthday!
Dancing!
11/18 Dinner and Blokus with Becca, her fiance Mark, and David!
11/19 Called Olivia on her birthday!
Swing dancing and eating ice cream with Deborah!
11/20 Won ImaginIf at my small group's Friendsgiving!
11/21 Workshop at Kansas For Life (I got a t-shirt!)
When I called Katrina, her sun was setting and mine was still up. It was a magical moment.
Painting Grace's living room and saving her from a self-destructing bookcase!
11/22 Bananagrams with Becca and David!
11/23 Thanksgiving with Kulases!
Coffee and walk with Grace!
The Princess Bride, online shopping, and painting with Grace!
11/25 Cosmosphere and shopping in Hutch with Grace!
11/26 Swing dancing and ice cream with Grace!
11/27 Last small group meeting!
12/1 Final day with Justice For All

I was given the honor of presenting the "I'm a miracle!" story to a Baptist church in Oklahoma. That was a very cool opportunity for me. Probably the largest crowd I've spoken to and they even laughed at my joke :)

How do I sum up? Last year, I thought I knew what I was asking God for when I asked to do pro-life work. I didn't know that that prayer would be answered in the form of sharing love and truth with college students all over the United States of America with an amazing team of God-fearing, life-affirming prayer-warriors with decades of pro-life work experience to learn from and imitate. I am blown away... and I can't wait to come back. Whether I return in the spring, or God doesn't lead me back for a long time, I hope to support and participate in this organization. Justice For All lives up to its name, placing God at the front of all their work. Thanks, team. Thank you for exemplifying to me what love and truth can do when used together.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Real Conversation at OU: Spheres of Influence

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of sitting in on a conversation on the University of Oklahoma campus.

Caleb, a high school student volunteering with JFA that day, and I were discussing a previous conversation when we were approached by an OU student named DeWayne* who asked what the exhibit was about. He seemed very pro-life. He believed life started at conception and that generally abortion should be illegal. We built common ground there and I asked questions to understand his beliefs.

At this point in the conversation, DeWayne paused in his processing of abortion and asked Caleb and me a question. He said, "Everyone has a certain amount of energy that they use to address different things in their spheres of influence. I choose not to get upset over some things because they don't affect me yet. Why do you choose to spend your energy talking about abortion?"

It was a packed question. I wanted to slow him down and address one thing at a time because I heard a lot in what he was saying. But it wasn't me who needed to speak. As I was thinking about how to unpack DeWayne's question, the volunteer spoke up. Caleb told a story about how his brother's roommate in college had said the word "super" so much that all the roommates eventually began using the word "super" in their vocabulary subconsciously. Then his brother, who was now using the word frequently, unintentionally spread the word to his Chik-fil-A coworkers. Within a year or two, the word "super" had gone from being used by one person to 95 people who did not know the original speaker. Caleb's point? Your influence goes far beyond what you will ever know.

This impacted DeWayne. We could see it in his eyes and he told us as much right away. "You're right," he said, "I hadn't thought about it that way. It's worth it to have the conversation about abortion because we have no idea who it could influence." I thanked God that this young man had connected the dots. This is a point I try to get many pro-life students to reach. I am asked at every campus, "It doesn't affect me. Why should I even have an opinion?" At every campus I want to explain to people that the topic of abortion may not seem like it affects them, but they can influence others if only they will speak up.

DeWayne got it. He is now willing to start talking to people about what he believes regarding abortion. This young man, through the conversations in his future, will make an impact he had never thought possible.

He did not think it was worth his time and energy to have the conversation, but he was willing to ask us why we thought talking about abortion was worth our energy. I did not have the words he needed to hear, but the high school senior volunteer did, and he spoke up.

Are you willing to have this uncomfortable conversation? Have you formed your opinion on abortion? Have you done the research?

If not, are you willing to start down that path?

If so, are you willing to speak up?

Your sphere of influence is larger than you can imagine.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

oPIN Your Eyes Project

Ever since watching the Paper Clips documentary on the Holocaust a few years ago, I have wanted to find a way to both commemorate and help visualize the loss of life in this country from legalized abortion. Two weeks ago, I Googled "paperclips abortion" and found Alyson: a working student who was one step ahead of me. Back in March, Alyson started the oPIN Your Eyes Project, collecting diaper or safety pins to raise national awareness for the lives lost because of abortion. To do this, she set a goal of 9 months to collect 300,000 safety pins to represent the 60 million abortions in the U.S. since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. All she needs is 10 people to send in 2,000 pins each by Thanksgiving and she will reach her goal. 

After connecting with Alyson, she agreed to do a Question and Answer post with me. I hope you enjoy getting to know this incredible young lady:

Q1. How did you get interested in Pro-Life? 
A. I have always had a passion for “the least of these."  When I was a little kid, I wanted to help the poor or those who could not help themselves.  As I grew up, that desire expanded into even wanting to help people with disabilities.  As I grew older, I learned about other people who would fall under “the least of these” category.  Now, not only do I desire to stand up for those who are killed in the womb, but my heart also breaks for the Muslim people.  (After college, I plan to become a Missionary in closed countries to reach Muslim women and children with the hope of the gospel.)  I cannot pinpoint an exact day or time when I decided to be Pro-Life.  I have grown up in a Christian home, and so I always knew abortion was wrong.  Although I knew it was wrong, I did not jump out there and get involved with Pro-Life marches or anything like that.  It was more of an understanding, but no action accompanied it.  I did hold some Pro-Life signs on the side of the road with a group of Pro-Lifers one time, but that was it.  Now, this past January is when I began to consider taking more of a public stand.  It was when I read WORLD magazine's article by Marvin Olasky, called “Incapable of Shame.”  For more on how that changed me: https://opinyoureyes.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-story-behind-opin-your-eyes.html   

__________


Q 2. What was your impression of the Paperclips movie? 
A. My first impression of the Paperclips movie was how amazing it was that those middle school kids worked hard to create such a beautiful memorial for all those who had died in the Holocaust.  It also made me cry, to just imagine what all those Holocaust survivors went through!  As I watched it, it confirmed my idea to do a project like the Holocaust Memorial for the babies who have been aborted.  I thought, “if these little middle schoolers could do this for something like the Holocaust, why can’t I, a high schooler, do something like that for abortion which is 10x worse (in amount of babies who have died)?”  I had no idea what all this project would ask of me, even after seeing that movie.  The movie did prepare me for the time and effort I would have to pour into this project, but it just scratched the surface.  
Now, after reading the WORLD magazine’s article, that is when an idea of bringing national awareness concerning abortion was birthed. The actual oPIN your eyes idea was conceived when I remembered the Children’s Memorial Display of the Paperclips that I had visited several year ago.  After considering how I could collect diaper or safety pins like those middle schoolers collected paper clips, that is when we watched the movie to see what all was involved.  

Q3. Why safety pins? 
A. Well, I associate safety/diaper pins with babies, especially diaper pins.  Plus, it was the closest thing I could think of to paper clips.  They are roughly the same size, and people (mainly ladies) seem to have plenty around the house.  It just seemed to practically fit the idea, both collecting wise and in proportion to how big these aborted babies are and how they are uniquely different. 

Q4. What is your goal with the Project? 
A. While my goal is to collect a certain number of pins, my ultimate goals are:
1. To glorify God    2. To bring awareness of what we have lost as a nation.  3. To be able to visualize this massive number.

Q5. Share a cool story since starting the Project:  
A. Oh dear, there are a lot.  I have talked to people who were almost aborted, and those are such neat stories of how God spared them and then to see how God is using them.  One of those stories was about a little girl who was at a church I was speaking at.  Her grandmother introduced us to her 3 year old granddaughter who “was a walking miracle.”  The child’s mother had been on meth when she found out that she was 32 weeks pregnant and “her tummy was flat as a board."  They didn’t know what to expect when the baby was delivered. Would she have all her fingers and toes?  What about her brain?  How would it be affected?  When we first arrived in the packed (small) sanctuary that night, this little girl was the one that stood out to me above all the rest. She was adorable!!  She was attentive and engaged in the whole service.  We overheard her grandmother prompting her to quote John 3:16 to an older woman sitting nearby.  She touched our hearts before we even met her.  Her grandmother said she was born without any problems.  Indeed, she was a walking miracle!  

Q6. What is the most encouraging part of this for you?  
A. There are two things that have been encouraging to me.  (1) When pins do not come in as quickly as they used to, God sends some form of encouragement.  Sometimes it is a person I have not met who contacts me, or sends me pins, or I get a chance to speak somewhere about my project.  (2) I have seen so clearly how God has placed a passion to stand against abortion on certain people’s hearts.  I have found that even if I present my project exactly the same to two different people, their reactions can be quite different because of how God is working in each one.  The first person might respond with an “oh that is nice” comment and move on, while the other might respond energetically, eager to help me in any way possible.  I have been so encouraged when God directs me to multiple, like-minded, and passionate people during this project.  

Q7. Why should people send you pins? 
A. These pins, at the end with the final display, will be a way to help our nation be aware of how many babies have died.  It is a way they can play a part in bringing awareness.  My prayer is that God will use this awareness and the final display of pins to help Christians realize how many babies we have lost and to stand up to change how our country views abortion.  

Q8. What was the initial response and how has that changed? 
A. When people heard about my project, they were surprised to see a young person being willing to stand up against abortion.  But as time has gone on, responses have varied.  I think that it depends on who I talk to, if God has already stirred in their heart a desire to stand up against abortion, or not.  I also think that the amount of time I spend on the project affects the amount of pins I receive and the number of responses as well.

Q9. Who has given you the most support? Pins? Emotionally? 
A. The most support in general, has been my mom.  She has been right there with me through every step, pushing me to take initiative and to do it myself, while also being there for me if I need advice or an idea.  She has been the back bone of this project, though she won’t admit it. :)  
The most support pin-wise, I would say is a church in our area.  They gave 50,000 pins after I spoke at their church.  
The most support emotionally, would be God, my mom, our prayer team, and my family.  Without all of them, I would have quit a long time ago.  At our church, there is a dear older lady who has been so sweet and supportive of my project.  When I told her about the project she hopped on board and asked how she could help.  I had no idea at the time, but she has been so passionate about it and collecting as many pins as she can for me.  She has been extremely supportive and encouraging.

Q10. What is the biggest surprise you experienced from the Project and why? 
A. Oh goodness, God sends such great surprises to me nearly every time the project begins to feel slow. I would say that the biggest surprise was when I contacted several Christian radio stations, and Chris Fabry responded, asking me if I would come on his show!  So I did, and God worked through that to send me pins from people who had heard me share about my project on the radio.  

Q11. Who is your public inspiring figure and why? 
A. Honestly, my role model is Jesus and if I had to pick an earthly one, it would be my mom.  She is always so strong and knows just how to get what needs to be taken care of, completed in the most efficient way.  She seems to be always right and gives the best advice.  Now, my dad is also my role model.  He is the most solid man you could ever find.  His counsel holds fast to God’s Word and he continually holds up God’s Word as the guidelines for our thinking and way of life at home.  Both of my parents are my role models and I hope to, one day, somehow reach at least a half of what they are!

Q12. Where do you store the pins? 
A. In Ziplock bags and in cardboard boxes in our sunroom.  My brothers help me count the pins that are not sent in counted.  (But, we do ask people to send in their pins counted.)

Q13. What is the final goal for displaying them? 
A. I have not fully created a final display.  But I want to create some sort of large container that looks like a large baby bottle.  Hopefully the container will be somewhat clear so that people can see the pins inside.  I hope to place the display in a public area.   

Thank you so much, Alyson, for taking the time to do this Q&A and especially for dedicating 9 months of your year to this cause. God bless you in the last month of your collection and in your future endeavors. 

All Alyson needs is ten people to send in 2,000 pins each by Thanksgiving and she will reach her goal. Through Amazon Prime, 2,000 safety pins can cost as little as $10, 1,000 at $5 and so on. Go to opinyoureyes.com to learn where to send the pins.

To learn more about oPIN, visit https://opinyoureyes.blogspot.com/ and follow the project on Facebook and Instagram. Alyson shares easy links to Amazon to show your support with pins, pins, and more pins.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

October

We kicked off this beautiful month with an outreach at the University of Minnesota. I got to know the interns and my bosses better as we explored Minneapolis and made important decisions about the best place to find ice cream. Paul is my supervisor in the office, and Steve is the director of JFA, so I have two bosses. The outreach itself was a different experience for each of us, but we all saw God's hand at work. For more details on that, see my blog post for Minnesota.

When we got back, Grace hosted a party for her friends who were visiting her from Louisiana. At this party which featured gumbo and good company, Grace surprised me with an early birthday present: a cheesecake. If my future were decided on a balance between "Stay with JFA Forever" and "Go Back to College", Grace is stacking the first side expertly.

This fun evening was followed by 24 hours in Oklahoma where I met some wonderful Pokes and shared the gospel alongside Tammy, Jon, and David. OSU was a peaceful campus with many questions for us. "What is the point of the poll?" "Are you selling something?" "How do you think the world began?" You never know what you're going to get, but every conversation is an opportunity to build relationship, find common ground, and respect every person.

Nearly two whole office weeks filled the middle of my month. I turned 22 and used that day to start reading The Hiding Place and explore Wichita a bit more. In the office, David and I have been replying to poll emails from the various campuses we visit, sorting through old files of JFA history, and helping out with random tasks which help the organization to run smoothly. I am unofficially the temporary librarian in the office because I put all the books in order and will dragon-like keep them orderly for the next month.

I've been attending my host family's small group as faithfully as possible with my busy travel schedule. We discussed the 5 Solas of the faith this month and I greatly enjoyed bouncing Scripture references off the other members of the group. They are a delightful collection of young parents and singles. Lord willing, I will be able to meet with them three more times before going home in December.

Random October adventures include a corn maze with new church friends, ice cream with Grace, walking on THE Yellow Brick Road, and riding a roller coaster in the Mall of America! There has been more dancing, and if I haven't been working, I've probably been crocheting, knitting, or cross-stitching.

Grace on the Yellow Brick Road in Liberal, KS

This past week in New Mexico was filled with answered prayers and unexpected laughter. Another 10 hours in the car to and from Albuquerque meant fun word games, riddle puzzles, and lots of jokes. This outreach was peacefully protested by a group from the university who stood a few yards away from us holding signs. They had chalked our area the day before with sayings. They were nice enough to engage a few of our staff in conversation about abortion before leaving. When people are expecting a fight, our organization is a disappointment. In contrast to this mindset, those in need of help are welcomed and provided for. Hundreds of conversations were held at UNM, some of those continuing in email form.

The space for our exhibit was covered in chalk-slogans from the Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice when we arrived on Monday morning (10/23/17)

On Sunday, Grace and I leave for Atlanta, GA where we will join other members of the staff to hold a seminar and outreach at Kennesaw State University. That event will close out October and welcome November. The last event of the internship will be Oklahoma in the middle of November.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I experienced only one nightmare this month and my health has remained strong. The training program is so helpful, teaching me all sorts of pro-life details that have been invaluable in conversation, especially at UNM. I'm two-thirds of the way through my internship and the idea of leaving to go home is hard to grasp. Please pray that my mind will stay engaged in my work through this final month and that my friendships here will grow stronger in their reflection of the Savior.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Real Conversation at UNM: "Will it end?"

I've been asked this question before. Not frequently, and usually not by people who describe themselves as pro-choice, but it has caused me to wonder for years. Will abortion ever end? Will it become illegal? Will Roe vs. Wade ever be reversed? For those of us who are fighting to this end, questions like these are ones which we struggle with commonly. A less-frequent question for me is this: "What next?"

I was asked both of these big questions at the University of New Mexico this week. One student on campus, William, saw Justice For All's exhibit from a window and thought, "This'll be fun." He wasn't wrong, but he didn't get the fight he was hoping for. William and I dialogued for two hours on Monday about abortion, justice, and the Christian worldview. He introduced me to his ideas about how the world works, the exceptions he found to be crucial for the justice of the women in hard situations, and there may have been some references to Star Wars. The next day, Tuesday, he came back to the exhibit. And he had questions. Between questions about JFA, aliens, and fears, he looked me right in the eye and asked, "Will it end?" He was asking if I thought abortion would ever be a thing of the past.

I sighed and prayed aloud, "Lord God... I hope so." Previous conversations where I've answered this question came to mind and recent conversations with Justice For All staff also spoke to my thoughts in that moment. Abortion really could end. Per JFA's mission statement, abortion really could become "unthinkable." I pray for a day where Roe vs. Wade will be reversed. It could be that I see a day where the millions who would have been surgically exterminated are safely entering the world and living their lives. I long for that day.


Explaining my hopes and dreams for the end of abortion over the course of the next few minutes was not enough. William listened patiently as I compared abortion to the United States slavery epidemic from 150 years ago and how the consequences of that time are affecting our nation today. Slavery may be over in that sense, but we experience the effects of it still. It will be the same for abortion, I said. When it is over... when it is finally done, our job will not be done. This world is forever changed by the way we have treated the weakest of our species over the past 45 years. Myself and pro-life advocates everywhere are ready to help people who are suffering the effects of a society which is celebrating abortion. We know that our job will never be done in that sense and, more personally, Christians never expect our job to be over.

Knowing God helps us discover what we're meant to do in the time we're given on this earth. As Christians learn about God, we learn to care about what He cares about. He cares about His creation, so when it's being destroyed, it grieves Him and it has to grieve us. When abortion is over, the grief will still be there. We have to be ready to turn our care to the area of need. Today, there are so many areas of need. Right now, I'm concentrating on one of those areas in one college campus at a time, one person at a time. I told William that when this area is settled, with God's help, I will move to help whomever needs me. That's just how it goes. I can live my life no other way. Because if I believe God has the end of abortion in His plan, I have to believe He has a plan for what comes after.

I'm crying now as I write this. I want it to end. There are approximately 2,500 abortions every day in the U.S. alone. On the days I spent in New Mexico, around 7,500 lives were lost. At this rate, by the time Christmas rolls around, the U.S. will reach 60 million killed in 45 years. I have to believe it could stop.

Father God, please let there be an end to abortion. Give your people the humility, the strength, the grace, the compassion to extend Your love to every human being. Today, tomorrow, and after abortion is gone. Because the work will never be done, but Your faithfulness endures to all generations.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Outreach at the University of Minnesota

There was a lot of rain in the forecast. We had been praying all week in advance that God would move the rain to a time that wouldn't interfere our outreach. We planned to spend Monday and Tuesday in conversations with the students at "the U" as they call it. We got to the campus early Monday morning after it had rained all night. Set-up was a breeze as we assembled the a-frame exhibit pictured here.


The weather remained cooperative all day. I arrived on campus with four other JFA team members. We were ready to start conversations at 9 am and would be there until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, depending on the weather. Throughout the day, we were joined by volunteers who had attended our training workshop the previous day.

Outreach moved slowly for the first two hours. I had a few short interactions with students who were willing to stop and chat before their classes. One student followed me to the side of the exhibit pictured above, where we discussed the nature of the unborn. He and I talked for a long time about human development.

Right at 11, the action started. One young lady wearing pink walked up to our sign and quietly wrote her objections on the Free Speech Board. On the side not pictured in the above photo, there are two contrasting realities: the care that people give wanted babies, and what happens to babies who are unwanted. One is a story of a Spina Bifida baby on whom a doctor performed a very precise surgery to repair the problem. It's a powerful example of the lengths people go to in order to protect and nurture wanted babies. Next to this story on the exhibit is a picture of a fetus aborted at 9 weeks. It's very difficult to look at and represents what happens to thousands of unwanted babies. The lady in pink said calmly that these examples were faked and used for propaganda. Steve, our director, did his best to meet her objections and respect her. She stated over and over again, "the ribs aren't developed by 9 weeks. I don't know [when they do develop], but it isn't then." After a few minutes of her trying to look up sources on her smart phone, but not finding any, and disregarding our sources, she finally said, "I don't know why I'm talking to you about ribs. It doesn't make a difference. In the end, a woman should still have control of her own body." She walked away.

During the time she had been there, she drew a crowd from how vocal she became. Those four or five people stayed to lecture Paul, our Chief of Operations, on the basis that his opinions and facts were invalid simply because he was a man and not a woman. He patiently listened and tried to understand them. After a long time, one lady in that crowd, who did most of the talking, looked at him and her demeanor relaxed. She said something to the effect of "you've been listening to me this whole time." She asked him for a hug before she walked away with a completely different attitude than she arrived with.

The rain came barreling in at 3pm on Monday. It was perfect. We wrapped up our conversations and took down the exhibit. That night, it rained again and caused us to delay our outreach by one hour on Tuesday. Nevertheless, we were back for our second and final day of conversations.



We bring a poll table to almost every event we host. "Should Abortion Remain Legal?" is the most common question we ask college students to weigh in on with their opinion. Sometimes we bring pads of paper for them to sign, but on rainy days, we use Popsicle sticks instead. Students can write their two cents on a stick and poke it into the foam on the YES or NO side. This picture with the poll table was taken on Tuesday, the next day. Grace is talking to a young man and I'm talking to a girl named Sierra*.

Sierra was one of the crowd who gathered around Paul on Monday, the day before. Her complaint at the time was that "only men were here trying to shove this offensive topic down women's throats." She was so concentrated on Paul that she didn't notice Grace or I standing around the exhibit, even though we were there the whole time. She left our exhibit unwilling to engage in conversation. On Tuesday, Sierra came back to add a Popsicle on the YES side. She addressed one of our volunteers saying, "did you bring any girls with you this time?" I was standing directly behind her, so I opened up conversation with her and watched in amazement as her combative spirit disintegrated during our conversation. We listened to each other, raised questions for each other, and found common ground all throughout the conversation. She heard our purpose and appreciated our gentleness and compassion in how we address the issue of abortion. In the above picture, we're laughing together. I didn't think that would have been possible 24 hours previously when I first saw her. After we talked, she, too, walked away with a completely different perspective.

Both days of outreach were difficult. It was hard to get students to stop and dialogue with us. And yet, God knew exactly what He was doing. The stories I told here are just a handful of the beautiful, challenging, and inspiring interactions we experienced. God took care of us with the weather and He blessed our outreach incredibly, teaching us to trust and be still as we watched Him work in Minnesota.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

September

I've officially been in Wichita for one whole month, a third of my internship. That blows me away. I feel as though I just got here maybe two weeks ago. The month has flown by. And it's been better than I hoped.

Here are some of the highlights of September:
My host family, the DeJongs, are wonderful. They've welcomed me in with amazing hospitality. I attend their church, Heartland, and their small group has also made me feel at home here.

My first campus experience, complete with training workshop and one of the big exhibits, was extraordinary. The drive to and from Indiana and Kansas with my new team was hysterical and heart-warming. Getting to meet and work alongside Stephanie Gray was a huge blessing. The training is invaluable, and I'm running out of adjectives to describe the outreach. My favorite conversations from those two days on the Purdue campus are already in blog form, but the other 27 conversations have been running through my mind ever since, reminding me to pray for the people I talked to there.

Grace! Grace Fontenot took me under her wing immediately. We have bonded over cats, flowers, St. Peter, colors, dancing in every open space, and spontaneity. She is in JFA's 2-year internship after completing the 3-month internship last fall.

When I found out I would be coming to Wichita, I googled "Swing dance Wichita" and found the Wichita Swing Dance Society, which has been an incredible joy. I've made new friends, danced my feet off, and laughed freely most Sunday nights. I needed this and I appreciate it so much.

Random adventures: David (the other three-month intern) and I explored the Kansas State Fair (so very Kansan) two weeks ago; Grace introduced me to coffee shops and amazing bacon; we visited the Wichita Art Museum and the Gateway Arch; attended two concerts; even successfully navigated an escape room and laser tagging with Swing friends. So many adventures.

Looking forward:
October holds exciting opportunities in Minnesota, Oklahoma, and New Mexico among others. I can't wait to experience the full 5-hour training seminar and meet dozens of students.

The hard conversations ahead are daunting. The topics of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and infanticide are often raised and discussed as we attempt to understand and help those we come in contact with. The certification training program is preparing me for all kinds of conversations with all kinds of people.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me. I've experienced good health, peace, and unending learning opportunities. God has been protecting me so much, from nightmares as well. I'm surrounded by men and women who share my passion and are guiding me graciously in this journey.

God led me with a strong hand through this first month and I can't wait to see Him work through these next two months.