1. One random internet stumbling ago, I found that quote and tapped it out on my phone to save for later. Isn’t it perfect? Profound? Poetic?

    As pragmatic and rational as I can be, there’s a part of me that’s also unfailingly wistful, naive, and a bit nostalgic for some idealized perfect future or circumstance. (Can you even be nostalgic for a future thing?)

    I love the quote’s ability to hide the passion and emotion implied in the words with its dry delivery. Part of the beauty of those words are the breadth of human experience they capture, but I’m just going to focus on the few that struck me most: hard work and emotion. It amused me how my subconscious idealized those things without experientially knowing what they were.

    In its own way, DTS taught me more about those two things than anything I’ve done in my life thus far. Some people are, by nature or by nurture, able to function freely in those two things. I am not one of those people. I’ve always tried to overcome this with the pressure and stress that’s induced by procrastinating on deadlines and analytically breaking down emotions, respectively. Not the healthiest ways to function, let me tell ‘ya.

    Much of it came from living out of insecurity—of acting and doing because I wanted to prove my worth by being better than the person next to me or earn and justify the love/approval from my parents (and thus God). Raw and unbridled emotions were simply a mystery and an inconvenience that seemed only to cause pain.

    True humility (thus confidence) only comes when the Father whispers the ultimate reality to you: “I love you. Now. In the past. In the future. Nothing will change that”, and then you believe it.

    When I returned to Kona, it gave me proof of my growth. I was constantly forced to think about my 19 year old self vs. my 26 year old self. It was so significant for me because my growth is something I constantly take for granted. I’m far more comfortable obsessing over my shortcomings rather than the ways in which I’ve matured and improved.

    As I wrote back in January, my tears helped to discover a part of me I’d let grow hard. My hurts and bitternesses began thawing and allowed me to simply love myself and receive love from the people around me.

    I’ve had a complicated relationship with leadership. Maybe that’s true for a lot of my generation—a generation that was shielded from failure with awards and assurance that they were special or extraordinary. I consider my first leadership role to have been in Kona with YWAM staffing a DTS and leading a team on outreach to China. I was 19, wildly ambitious and desiring perfection. I returned a little wiser, but still not fully having dealt with the pattern of leading out of striving that had taken root.

    At UCLA, I assumed leadership roles among a group of passionate and idealistic college kids who wanted to see God move dramatically there (I’m oversimplifying a bit). With that root issue unresolved, I came out of those four years tired and a little disillusioned, but onto a new high—a romantic relationship!

    I married soon after without fully dealing with my heart issues and went straight to a 9 to 5 in a foreign country with no community around me.

    It took those years outside of the familiar, discovering what it meant to be known by another, and being humbled by my inability to easily live out my ideals, to process and better appreciate what I now understand to be such an important, beautiful, and courageous period in my life. This was a marked difference from the scorn with which I viewed my many mistakes and regrets, but it was also a tough period where my heart began to shy away from living with confidence, vision, and integrity, choosing instead to satisfy my flesh.

    It’s no wonder when I returned to Kona with no real objective but to receive love, I broke down. God gently reminded of how my heart and my daily life choices had grown to prioritize my flesh over my spirit.

    Seven years prior, I asked God to teach me how to cry. Seven years later, he answered that prayer—just not in the way I expected.

    One day, God showed me the two paths I could have taken after I prayed that prayer. One was a path of confidently living life based on the reality that I was loved by God. The other was to live life consumed with earning love based on earthly standards. Both would accomplish the goal, but I chose the latter. Looking back, many of my life decisions in the small day to day things were made more out of the fear of failure and rejection than confidence in the reality of my worth. God showed me a bruised and beaten heart from choosing to operate out of fear, rather than accepting and living from my true identity.

    I’ve noticed that I tend to place most of my effort on making wise and love-filled decisions on the bigger, overarching things in life instead of the quiet moments when no one’s looking.

    I’ve always loved the latin proverb esse quam videri, “to be rather than to seem”. It’s because I suck at it! It’s really hard for me to be genuine because I’m always overthinking things and really conscious of how I appear to other people. I’m the worst critic of them all! It’s because I’m so judgmental that I’m so careful and want my outer appearance to be without fault. What a horrible way to live!

    Being in community forces you to trash the notion that you can be perfect in front of others. You’re always showing your bad side in one way or another—how beautiful is that! I have a feeling God intended us to live that way.

    In outreach, you can’t be perfect. But, just like it did on my own outreach seven years ago, being in Africa on outreach forced me to cling to God which, paradoxically, freed me to be myself! I definitely wasn’t perfect at it, but boy am I excited to get better and grow in it.

    You know what I learned? To start sweating the small stuff. It’s the small decisions in your day that help you learn how to sweat—to put in the hard work that’s necessary to achieve something of worth.

    DTS taught me that discipline is so important in the little things. And for me, I could only have learned that through hearing and believing that I am loved.

    -j

     

  2. It was the third morning of our outreach, March 30th to be exact. We woke up that Sunday morning in no extraordinary way, except that I was about four days late for my period. We dismissively credited the fatigue of our 35 hour travel for the delay. 

    The South African sun peeked into our wooden shack on stilts, and stirred us out of our warm bed to our 100 meter walk to the shared bathroom outside. Everything was ordinary, including my frog friend visiting me in my daily, cold shower. It wasn’t until after my shower that I suspected something was definitely out of the ordinary when I suddenly had the urge to puke on a completely empty stomach.

    I remember pulling myself together and walking back to our cottage in a daze. "ohhmyyygoodness… I think… I’m pregnant!" Later that day, the pregnancy tests we bought confirmed in two bright red lines that a little somebody was growing inside of me! 

    I sat in the bed with a blanket teepee wrapped around me minutes after our freakingout/hugging/kissing session, not sure of how I felt. It was exciting! I was thrilled! But at the same time, it was just too crazy! "God, is this really, okay? Did you really call us to Africa with this new baby? Are we being responsible?!?"

    You see, I found that as I started seeking the voice of God and His will for my life, there are times when the choices He guides us to may seem, well, irresponsible. Foolish, stupid, irrational, backwards, are all inter-changeable terms. Oh, I had my ideas of what it meant to be a responsible adult and parent, and being in Africa, 6 weeks pregnant, without hot water, no control of my diet, and no knowledge of how to receive healthcare were not one of them.

    I realized, as a single person in college, my process of laying down my rights and loving Jesus was only to the extent of what I knew as a single person. Makes sense right? So many new rights and entitlements came up when we stepped into marriage and tried to figure out how to love Jesus as a couple. We’ve been learning and growing in this area for the past three years, and still learning! But as a soon-to-be-parent, I don’t know why it was surprising that I found myself struggling with these new rights I firmly held on to. Jesus was not Lord of my future family quite like I imagined or wanted Him to be. 

    Naturally, trusting God is not natural, nor is it easy. It’s much easier to trust in myself, in what I know and understand. Throughout most of my time in Africa, I was on this continual up and down coaster of wanting to trust God and blaming God (or Jeremiah or myself) for placing our family in such an uncomfortable position to have to trust God. Isn’t it funny that trusting God isn’t really difficult, until we have to?

    I am still in the process of laying down my rights, especially as a soon-to-be parent, and I’m sure this process will continue as our child grows. But looking back at my time on outreach, I am so thankful for the time of stretching and struggle. Ultimately, our child is not really ours. And even with a 6 week old embryo, in His mercy, God was reminding me of this. He assured me that He is taking care of His child, and will continue to as I follow His voice and obey. My part as a mother, is to nurture and love this baby I’ve been entrusted with temporarily, by obeying His voice above my own.

    So that is the story of how God, the Professor of Life, welcomed me to Parenting 101.

     

  3. And here we are in South Africa! Despite the crazy bumps in the road, all 14 of us have safely arrived at Ten a Thousand Homes YWAM Base in White River. There are already so many stories to be told, even of our journey here!

    It is our first official day of work here with our hosts, Ten Thousand Homes. Even our little one is joining in on the community projects!

    I am out with a nasty cold today, so I would appreciate some prayers! Despite not being able to work, I am so glad I can have some down time to update all of you. Thank you for walking with us in our journey!

     

  4. Living in community is not easy. Loving unconditionally is not easy. Forgiveness and humility is not easy. And so, being like Jesus is not easy.

    Sometimes a good cry will do, a raging workout session, maybe a shared tub of ice cream, a venting session to a listening ear, or even a silent hug will do wonders…but these sweet methods that ease our pain without transforming our hearts are bandaids that make us feel better just for the moment.

    Take a deep breath, and pray with me a prayer of peace if you’re in need of transformation and healing.  

    The Peace Prayer

    Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is error, the truth;
    Where there is doubt, the faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    And where there is sadness, joy.

    O Divine Master,
    Grant that I may not so much seek
    To be consoled, as to console;
    To be understood, as to understand;
    To be loved as to love.

    For it is in giving that we receive;
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

    -St. Francis of Assisi

    *
    My dark, but lovely heart has been healing and slowly changing.

    "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." 

     

  5. Our parents are here in Kona! We are so blessed to share this DTS experience with them in person! They are leaving tonight back to LA, and in just one week we will be taking our 30 hour journey to South Africa~ 

     


  6. Anonymous said: <3 will be praying for you both as you prep for Africa!!!

    thank you! :) your prayers are VERY much appreciated!

     

  7. I have seen this view often in the short seven years I’ve known my husband both as a friend and as a lover. The leaps of faith he takes into new territories, unknown futures, and adventures of trusting and obeying God have always challenged me and given me the courage to jump in after him. I’m so thankful for his leadership and his ability to lay down his rights before Jesus. Although, to be honest, the moments before I experience the thrill of flying, I’m always annoyed and anxious that he’s put me in that position to jump! I know he loves me because afterward I’ll be like “omg, you were so right! Everything is okay! This is so fun!”, and he’ll just take my hand and never say “I told you so”. ^^

    In the past few weeks, I’ve struggled watching Jeremiah prepare for another plunge in terms of our next step after DTS. I’m not ready!… How can you even think to jump?!… We don’t even see the bottom of this cliff!… How can you be sure this is God?!

    The path is so narrow ya’ll. (I have roommates from Texas and they are rubbing off on me). It is so difficult to lay down my rights, pick up my cross and follow Him. Sure, it’s easy to trust God in certain areas of our lives, as long as we have the stable paycheck, a car, our own place, access to Trader Joe’s, and our family and friends…But I am still so afraid to trust God in all areas of my life and it’s hard to give up all of these rights I feel entitled to. Not only that, I’m so afraid of hearing God’s voice wrong! It makes me immobile!

    As each week is progressing into deeper and more difficult topics of teaching here at DTS, I’ve been undergoing several moments of deconstruction and restoration as God is continually pulling out lies and replacing them with truth in my heart. There are so many lies I’ve let myself believe that have rooted into fear and distrust in God…God’s ministers in full-time ministry sacrifice so much needlessly, your friends and parents will think you are irresponsible and foolish if you can’t financially support yourself, you have the potential and education to “make it big” and do “big things” for God, and you’re wasting it away, if you do hear wrong then it’s the end of the world…

    I am still on top of that cliff; sometimes pacing, sometimes meditating sometimes arguing with God, arguing with Jeremiah, arguing with myself… But, I’m still okay. I’m not ready to jump just yet, but I’m still okay. Jesus is taking my broken, hurt, selfish heart and penetrating my darkness with his gentle Love. Oh, it hurts, but it’s beautiful and it’s good. It’s so good.

    Jesus, thank you. And, I love you so much.

    -h

     

  8. We’re already in Week Six of our DTS! I can’t believe we’re already halfway through our lecture phase. As many of you already know, in six weeks we will be going on a short term mission trip. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to share our mission trip location, but I’ve been busy being “BAMMED!” by Jesus (it’s a good thing), and I just kept pushing it back. So without further ado, drumroll please: ba dum ba dum ba dum….

    Hannamiah will be going to South Africa and Swaziland!! 

    Why South Africa and Swaziland?

    Before we came to YWAM, God spoke to us about walking in humility as a couple and serving wherever there was a need. So, to keep the story short, during the time we were praying about outreach locations, our school leaders asked Jeremiah to go to South Africa and Swaziland as a co-leader because he has experience staffing a DTS outreach. We had our hearts set for Egypt initially, but seeing this need, we were moved to simply serve our school and our leaders in whatever area they needed. 

    Jeremiah will be serving as co-leader along with a lovely Brazilian sister. Our company includes two leaders, eleven students, and two children! I will serve as translator for the most part, because most of the students are Korean! 

    What We’ll Be Doing There

    There’s still a lot we don’t know because none of us have ever been to these countries, but that is causing us to pray even more! For now, we know that we may be working with home constructions in Johannesburg, South Africa and working with orphans diagnosed with aids in Swaziland. 

    Prayer Requests

    1. Our team still has a few individuals who need the money to go out with us. We are praying and fundraising for $10,000! 

    2. We really want a sense of unity and a hunger to pray as a team! We want all of our members to experience breakthrough and healing here during the remaining lecture phase. 

    3. We know that we’re on the right track with what God wants to do with us, because we feel the enemy attacking in very annoying ways. Please pray for protection over our hearts and pray for courage for our team. We want the courage and authority to pick up our shield and sword and fight, while keeping our eyes on Jesus.

    *
    We are so excited for the things God has in store for us for the next six weeks and for our outreach! Thanks for walking this journey with us. 

    P.S. My husband is the best! I felt so overwhelmingly blessed and loved on my 25th birthday here at YWAM. Thanks for all the birthday wishes and cards, everyone! 

    -h

     

  9. I met a sweet girl named Gabriella today at the Banyan Tree cafe. Her and her schoolmates from Foundation School were practicing reaching out and speaking to people they felt God wanted them to speak to. She approached me shyly and asked if I had a minute. She asked me my name and started a conversation. She asked if she could pray for me, and of course I couldn’t refuse! Her prayer was three simple sentences:

    "Jesus, I pray for Hannah.
    I pray that she can hear your voice, and know what to do.
    And… play hide and seek with you.
    Amen!”

    She giggled away with her friends handing me this butterfly. 

    I melted.


    -h

     


     

  10. Here is our temporary address during our training here at the University of the Nations:

    75-5851 Kuakini Hwy #224
    Kailua Kona, HI 96740 

    I would love to read some letters here at one of my favorite spots on campus ;) *hint hint