Sometimes I need to use words

The title is a little dramatic, but if you could see inside my head and my heart you might agree. “What is the gospel?”  This is perhaps one of the most profound, simplest, and most telling questions you can ask somebody.  I think you’ll get one of four responses. A blank stare (either from somebody
Running as sport is something that I’ve never appreciated.  When I was a in middle school, the majority of girls played field hockey.  I didn’t like this idea for two reasons: first, who plays sports in a skirt?  and second, I hate running.  One look realizing that field hockey practice was almost as tedious as what the
Have you ever done something crazy, motivated by love?  Spontaneous trips are one of my favorite things. There’s a thrill to picking up and moving in the unexpected.  Thursday, I learned of an opportunity to do relief work in St. Augustine after Hurricane Matthew went on a rampage. I have been in Florida for a season of
I haven’t had a day like it before. Thursday I was working with Roma children next to the most beautiful lake in Hungary, and Friday I was working into the wee hours of the night, photographing a beautiful wedding on a boat docked on the Danube River in Budapest—the golden city behind it glimmering against
Did you ever wonder what the world was like before Babel? Imagine, just for a second, a world with free communication. After living overseas, that is something I’ve longed for, but never as much as I do now. There is something beautiful when a moment can transcend language and culture. That’s what I experienced on
What do Pink Floyd, flowers, flames and fireworks have in common? No, it’s not the letter F, they’re each a symbol of the graduation celebration I attended this evening. It’s fascinating to me that this “ballagás”occurs before the students take their final exams. It’s almost like an encouragement to press on until completion. I couldn’t
Can you imagine having joy without sorrow? The reward without the toil? Celebrating a resurrection with no death? There’s something about walking through pain that allows deep-seated joy to reign supreme. In the midst of transitioning to a new life, new traditions are created, and holidays are often when those transitions are felt the most.
On occasion I take a pilgrimage to the Szabadság Hid (Liberty Bridge). Tonight, on a rainy evening after a long week I went to quiet my soul, and gaze at both the flow of water and the flow of people. There are many beautiful bridges in Budapest, each with its unique flare.  While, many argue the chain
Have you ever taken a photo and been frustrated with it because it cannot capture the immense beauty of what is in front of you at the moment; only to discover that months later that same photo brings a small portion of that awe back to you, and equips you to step back into the
“Trudge through, you will make it, I promise…” I’ll tell you it’s an honor to be in a a community of people that will stand beside you and say such words, but when you’re in the trenches, sometimes it seems to that you’re there alone.  The reality is I don’t always have the people standing immediately
I’m not sure why I didn’t think it would be hard.  Life in a new place, a new language, a new culture.  Here, literally EVERYTHING is new, well… except me!  Perhaps I bought into the myth that the well-traveled expat wouldn’t struggle to adjust.  Its one thing to enter a culture, another to experience it
Fences are incredibly common in Hungary.  Nearly every house has a fence with a well secured gate around it. Here fences are used to keep some people in and other people out. In the past 2 months, I’ve seen two fences built before my eyes.  This past October, I traveled to Zákány, Hungary and observed
The line of people seemed unending, we were told an estimate of 1,500 yet the trail of refugees walking through the opening in a razor wire border fence seemed to snake for miles. Zákány, Hungary is a small village that borders Croatia.  Tonight, these refugees walked through a muddy field onto a train headed to Austria.
Over the past 3 years or so, I’ve had a shortage of free time.  Moments of solace have been treasured and were often found in the woods or in a boat.  Now, I’m joyfully living a life where my vocation are the very things I was doing with my free time.  Which in a strange
On Wednesday I watched an international crisis with my own eyes. I held weary hands, walked alongside feet that walked 3,000 miles, laughed with children, listened to stories of pain, and was present for just a moment in many lives on a life changing journey. One of those moments I will never forget.   After hours of sorting trash from useful items as people
Margit Island is a respite in the midst of a busy city.  I went to explore the island with 2 young ladies from our English camp yesterday. We spent time climbing trees, visiting a small zoo (laughing at funny animals), finding a geocache, and talking about life.  The girls mentioned a very large tree on the island and it became
When I started in student ministries at Calvary Church I was told “the relationships you build in a week of camp is the equivalent a year of youth group”.  I have absolutely found that to be the truth, the depth of relationship that is built with 24/7 access, it gives space for the good, the bad and the ugly, and then
WOW!  What a whirlwind!  I’m here in Hungary, Finally (My next post will be about English Camp!).  I wanted to share a story about our arrival on July 8. Travel was an adventure to say the least.  Our flight out of Philadelphia was an hour late and upon arriving in Paris we had 30 minutes from landing until
Most of us have them, call it an ultimate “to-do” list.  Well, believe it or not mine is relatively simple, mainly because I’ve been blessed with so many unique and amazing experiences already. The biggest item: live outside of America for a year has been an unshakable desire since I met a group of “us crazy kids” volunteering from
I want to publicly thank so many people that made the fundraising dessert and tea a smashing success and has really prepared the path for my journey to Hungary.  Without the love and support of those in attendance, those that were praying, and especially those that were the hands and feet of turning the refinery
It’s a big question to ask:  “what is joy” How do we see it in our lives?   Don’t worry I’m not a theologian so I’m not going to ACTUALLY tackle that question, but I do want to share a story… Today, I believe I saw joy in its truest form.  Over the past couple
Life certainly is an adventure. Steve Jobs is known for saying “stay hungry, stay foolish”. Well, that’s my story last night. I was in a Wawa writing on an envelope while my car sat at pump 10. In fact it had been at the pump for half an hour. If there was any way I
This picture says so much, while I’m front and center, the camera is not focused on me, it’s focused on the girls I have spent the past few years pouring into (and being encouraged by).  You see, even though I’m present, and the biggest one in this image, it’s not about me, it’s about those
In anticipation, for my cross cultural training to prepare for Hungary, I loaded my car for a three week road trip to Indiana.  After re-routing my trip 4 times, I decided at the last minute to depart day earlier than planned because a big snow storm was imminent.  Little did I know leaving early had me face
Today, I went to the apple store with a friend.  Her computer had randomly been restarting several times a day for 4 months.  As a college student, Christmas break presented the opportunity to survive without a computer.  After driving to 2 stores, an hour long phone conversation and story time with three levels of technicians, (and long holding patterns) at Apple tech
Prayer changes things.  I’m beginning the next leg of a journey to Hungary.  I have watched my heart towards living a missional life in a country that is not Ukraine begin to change drastically.  Prayer has been the foundation of this twist in the road and will continue to be.  I’m currently on a plane to
Have you ever spent an extended period of time working on fixing something, only to find out later that you’re solution isn’t a good solution at all?  Well, let me tell you a technological story.  Last night, I was working on preparing a promotional video for an English camp in Hungary.  I had many segments
I have been insane over the past month or so. I have had so many friends move, myself included. When you move, it’s really a time to take a close look at your life. (Maybe that’s why I did it once a year for so long.   I had been at the same place for 4
  Connection, commission, company, community, communication, committee, communism, coeducation, compound, coffee, Coca-Cola!?  Think about the prefix “co” for a minute, it means something is mutual, jointly shared. Isn’t that exactly what connection is? I often have a fear that if i’m not quite up to par with where I think I “should be”, but if I’m
There are very few moments through my life when my heart has been plainly laid out. I’ve been encouraged by the concept of vulnerability countless times for the past week. Moving from a concept to a reality however, is one of the most difficult things as a human I can do. However, one that has
Today I made an extremely difficult phone call.  For several weeks, it has been my plan to depart for another week in Ukraine this coming Friday. There are no words to express well what has happened in Ukraine since the last blog post I have written.  Standing for freedom for months, nationalist martyrs, and the
At my home church, we have a group called the Energizers.  (No, they’re not a group of battery lovers!) This is the Adult Bible Fellowship for those aged 70+. This past Sunday, we had an opportunity for the youth to serve the older generation a lunch after church.  It’s really a beautiful thing to see
About 2 weeks after returning home from Ukraine, I had finished up all my photos, organizing and editing and was quite content with the work.  Photos from Peru, the Netherlands, Ukraine and England.  Well over 10,000 photos. The weekend after I came home, I had photographed a wedding.  It was so refreshing to be behind
Something that I have been wrestling with for about the past 9 months is that I am convinced I take more creative photos with my iPhone than my camera.  In sharing this with a man I deeply respect in the photography realm (, he suggested a small perspective shift, “why not use live view on your
When I think about time the past month with dear American friends I realize the power that comes in a heart conversation which awakens your soul to dream.   When I’m in my own world, I find it very easy to forget about the future… Let’s be honest, sometimes all we want to do is
I just watched a video that 2 women i respect in Ukraine posted to facebook: The Innovation of Lonliness: (yes it is 4+ minutes, but totally worth it!) I was with some girls last night and we wrote down 3 words to describe where we are in life, the first word i wrote was “disconnected”.
WOW!  Peru, To think that I have been back in Ukraine for a week and a half.  It was an incredible journey, and the friendships I have built with those on the trip were truly unexpected. There’s always a fear I have of language, that I will not be able to communicate clearly or well
I love Ukraine…over the past 2 days, i went to 6 different glasses stores to try and get a screw put into my sunglasses that broke yesterday (it’s really such a simple fix, and if i had a screw i could fix it) At each store, they kept saying “you need the master to fix
I will be awake at 3:30AM and beginning a journey to Peru.  I can’t believe it’s here.  The times leading up to this have been completely challenging and enjoyable, and more than anything have stretched me in every aspect possible.  I fully expect the same to occur in Peru, if not even more so. The
Today I’m headed back to kiev from a weekend “off” visiting a dear friend in the south of Ukraine. It’s a 17 hour journey on a train to arrive back home and I am convinced that the rail is my favorite mode of transport. There is a strange sense of community you can build in
For the past couple weeks, nearly everybody i would come in contact day after day would ask me how I’m feeling, simply because I have been sick off and on for the past month.  The АПТЕКА (pharmacy) has taken more of my budget than I would have liked, and I’ve learned that you can’t expect to find
You know scripture has a way of proving itself in our lives. Today I had the brilliant idea to walk to the bus station (and then around the city) wearing new shoes… Of course i wasn’t thinking that there’s a possibility that the shoes could dig into my heels and cause blisters. Well, that’s exactly
Sometimes through this journey i’ve asked myself if i’m simply a tool to be used in God’s hands to empower others to do their ministry more powerfully.  Deeper than that I ask myself if I’m content if that’s the truth.  You see, my reality is the relationships I’m desiring to build aren’t happening.  Oh, yes,
Whenever I play 2 truths and a lie, my lie has usually been, “I’ve gone  backpacking in Europe” usually, I can win with that, but now I need to come up with a new “go-to.” To spend a week living out of a backpack in a community of people where you don’t natively speak the same
Well, there’s a lot to catch up on (and i’ll do it in a couple consecutive posts).  It’s amazing how life can get so busy when you are in a new place.  I was told that “your problems will follow you wherever you go” and that’s completely true.  In America I constantly want to be busy
Saturday, I took the most expensive hiking trip of my life. This journey to the pinnacle could have cost me more than my entire journey to Peru! Here, is the last image I will ever have taken. With my faithful 24-70 2.8mm lens and my canon 5d mark iii… I have loved this combination dearly
Yesterday, a friend of mine encouraged me to go for prayer walks… “take baby steps” so today was the second night I went on the streets of Telford praying, and focusing.  It’s been a blessing.  Really.  No big expectations except to meet with God. Tonight it was fresh after a rain, memories of the last
The past few weeks, I’ve been walking around town with my backpack on in order to prepare for the trip and the times I’ll be backpacking.  I suppose that I’ve realized the best preparation for doing something longer term, is to do it in a safe environment, and practice up!  So I’ve given up on
Today, I undertook a huge step in fundraising that I’ve never attempted on my own before. And the truth is I still didn’t do this on my own. A support dinner.  Honestly I was blown away.  In the beginning I was overwhelmed with the work.  And the help came just in time to have everything
This is such an important lesson for me. As a human being I am often convinced that I have the strength and whit to do just about anything. I do believe that to a small degree. However, when it comes to doing the work, I’ve realize that the “Together Everyone Achieves More” phrase it completely
It astounds me how much joy comes from simply starting something. I’m scared, absolutely. Yet, to see something come together from near and from far is encouraging. I was reading this book called “the circle maker” it’s about prayer. Throughout the book, the author shared one simple sentence: Pray like it depends on God, work
Who would have thought that going on a 3 month journey would take more than 3 months work?  Okay, sometimes I don’t have the most realistic view on life. 🙂 Seriously, I’m learning so much about planning and diligence, and once again the way life throws unexpected curves.  Thankfully, I’ve got a great community of folks
Two weeks ago, I planted a flower.  It’s completely out of character to me, but for the sake of a spiritual take home for students on prayer I thought it was a great group activity… We decorated our pots with favorite songs, scriptures, quotes, designs or doodles.  All the while going through a little prayer
Yes, It’s true, I’m headed back.  This time, it’s not part of a team.  Headed back on the grandest adventure in faith of my life.  3 months in Ukraine.  A semi-familiar land, but it will be a completely new experience to spend time without a team of native English speakers. I’m excited, nervous and at
Last night we had the opportunity to visit a local family who adopted 5 kids, one of them was from Zeleny Gai.  The family was very hospitable to us.  At one point it felt like we were watching the sound of music as the kids all sang together and performed songs on a variety of instruments for us: accordion  piano,
The next morning was the first full day at camp. When we arrived you could see some of the kids wearing all the clothing they received the day before. We had a small worship time with the Ukrainian team before we started the morning session for the kids. Yesterday they had informed us that we are
Today I totally understood the excitement of the “first day back at camp”. Watching the excitement of kids peeking out the windows and having them run up to you, and squeeze you… Or in the case of another kid, watching a kid realize just who you are moment by moment and then having the relationship
Quick post, I love Ukraine because I love dill! It’s lunchtime: dill, vegetable and hotdog soup (dad, you should start selling it!)
Just settling down on the long train ride to Kharkov. Anxious to see the kids, our friends from the church there, and to begin our work and real reason for this trip. I can not complain about our time in Kiev though, most definitely my favorite New Years celebration ever. Starting with a curling competition
Hi everybody, we are here at McDonald’s in Kiev… (We love the free wifi, thanks Dan!) it’s been quite the eventful day. We’ve learned that Melissa is quite clumsy, the coffee she just spilled on herself is the second this trip…after hours of flying, layovers with a small trip into Zurich, and a small delays
Hi folks, the day has finally arrived. We are at our respective airports (Dan, Robb, Kristina,&melissa at jfk and Lauren at Philly) and are anxiously awaiting our arrival and reunion in Kiev. God has been so faithful to us. In so many things, no charges for overweight bags, arrivals at the airports in good time,
We are so excited to be preparing for our second trip to Ukraine in the past 5 months. God has really opened some amazing doors for us to serve this winter. December 28th we will depart for a life changing (and freezing cold) opportunity to minister at a camp for orphans in Kharkov. We look
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